Teams rides nine-game win streak into final week of regular season

By Robert Janish
Senior Sports Writer

On Wednesday night, the Demske Sports Complex was host to the next chapter in the fierce rivalry between the Canisius College women’s lacrosse team, and the Niagara Purple Eagles. This matchup is no doubt the most hyped-up game of the year because of the legendary rivalry between the two teams and what the results could mean for future games for the Griffs.

Currently, the team stands with an overall record of 9-5, including first place in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference standings with a 6-0 record. Their opponent, the Purple Eagles currently stand at 2-3 in the MAAC, and have accumulated a 5-8 overall record.

Throughout the week, Head Coach Scott Teeter had been preparing his squad for what lies ahead on Wednesday night, when they compete against the Purple Eagles. Senior Meghan Cuddy said Teeter has been pushing the team in practice this week while adding that they “definitely haven’t been taking Niagara lightly.”

The Griffs had reason to be concerned about the Purple Eagles.  While the Purple Eagles offense is inconsistent, it can go off at any time with previous results had their team outscoring opponents by as many as five goals in their wins.

Senior Tori Greco believes similarly to her teammate, saying that Teeter “has been talking about them (the Purple Eagles) a lot in practice, and telling us that we can’t overlook them.” She also said this game is important to get a win and maintaining the first spot before their game against undefeated Monmouth.

Teeter has been preparing for this matchup by taking it one day at a time. “What we’ve been preparing for in the MAAC conference is not to overlook a future opponent, just taking it day-by-day.” Teeter also says he wants to capitalize on Niagara’s weaknesses and his coaching staff has been scouting and coming up with an overall game plan and know where to attack.

Cuddy adds that a win would be great because “it puts us one step closer to being able to host MAACs.” She also says hosting the tournament would be a huge goal for them that they all want to achieve in the end.

Greco says a win against Niagara would be important for their season. “Especially just to keep the winning vibe going and keeping our spirits up and just going out with a bang with our last home game and I think it will be a good one.”

“For us to reach our goals is the next obstacle,” Teeter said, referring to the importance a victory over Niagara would have. Teeter says their goal is to “go undefeated and we need to win out to host the MAAC Championships, which is the easiest way to control our own destiny.”

The game against the Purple Eagles would also be the last time that we saw the senior members of the team play at the home field of Canisius in a regular season environment. The seven athletes that played their last game at Canisius are goalkeeper Kayla Scully, attackers Natalie Wagaman, Whitley Perry, Tori Quinn, Tori Greco, midfielder Meghan Cuddy, and defender Casey Depauw.

Cuddy said that the atmosphere for her final home game will be exciting, especially with the presence of their friends and families at the game as well. However, she adds that “we don’t have the mindset that this is our last home game, so we’ll just go out there and get a win.”

Greco says the game will be bittersweet for her, given the circumstances. “I just hope that we all go out there, play as hard as we can, play a full sixty minute game and just get the job done and finish strong.”

Teeter says that senior day is always special, especially with their arch rival in town. When referring to his outgoing players, he said “they’ve had tremendous careers, but after the ceremony, it’s game time.”

He added that they’re remembered before and celebrated after the game, but in between there’s 60 minutes against Niagara and the chance to earn two more points, which is the  main focus of this game.

With the combined factors of beating a fierce rival, maintaining first place in the standings and remain undefeated in the MAAC, this pivotal home game will also be the last for those seven seniors who have given their all for the program the last four years.

Cuddy says a win would be great in helping the team’s confidence along, and “to get another win out there will really help us and move forward into MAAC tournament play.”

Greco believes a win would be really important, especially with their upcoming battle against Monmouth, who is also undefeated in the MAAC. “If we do win this game, Monmouth will definitely be a little more scared and look into us a lot more.”

Greco says as long as the team is winning, they’re playing the best that they can and are keeping their energy up as well, and that’s what keeps the team going.

Teeter said after Niagara, Monmouth is up next on their list. “We need to keep this streak because that could potentially be for first place and hosting the tournament.”

He adds that beating Niagara wouldn’t be easy, but if successful, then everything’s on the line when they face Monmouth due to their similar conference records. “If we want to host, we need to be at the best of our abilities.”

When game time finally drew near and the battle began, the Golden Griffins’ momentum was not slowed down in any way whatsoever. The start of this game between bitter rivals with so much on the line for Canisius could not have started any better for Teeter and his Griffs

The first half of period one was capped by a 8-0 run by Canisius against the Purple Eagles, in which Meghan Cuddy scored three of her team’s goals in that span during her final home game. After the first half concluded, Canisius lead 9-4, with Cuddy notching what would be her final four goals at home during a regular season game in a Golden Griffins uniform.

Along with a five-goal lead at halftime, Canisius led in the shots category 15-8. As the second half began, Niagara came out with more fire power and it showed in the shots department, but it was still nowhere near enough to keep Canisius from winning this pivotal game.

Senior Tori Quinn’s 32nd goal of the season, scored with over two minutes left in the first half, would be enough for the Griffs to win this game as the team cruised to a 16-8 win over Niagara. The win improved the Golden Griffins to an undefeated record of 7-0 in MAAC play as the upcoming battle for first at Monmouth looms larger than ever.

Senior Tori Quinn, who scored two goals and had seven assists in her team’s win, believes that her team came out with a lot of energy, especially due to the fact it was senior night for the team. “It was good to see all of our seniors get the start today,” she said.

Quinn and the rest of her team are truly excited about the upcoming battle for first place against Monmouth. “We’re all excited for that game and it’s definitely going to be a battle.”

After his team’s victory, Teeter hoped to have sent off his team’s seniors in style. “Anytime, especially on senior night, you want to send the seniors off with a victory.” He also said in the game against the Purple Eagles, it was crucial to get a fast start on their opponent, which is what took place on the field.

However, Teeter adds that as the game progressed, the team lightened up on their opponents with the ball. “We started throwing away the ball on offense and gave them a little too much room on defense, so we challenged them at halftime to get back to the way that they were playing, and I thought our girls responded for a whole thirty minutes.”

Teeter said that the first seed was always a goal and there’s still more work to be done. “We sort of thought, that when it would play out, it would come down to the Monmouth game,” he said. “A must-win game to be able to host and we’re in that situation right now.”

Teeter added that in this must-win game where all the cards will be on the table, “It’s going to be a battle and I look forward to it.”


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