Griffs enter road trip searching for victories

By: Robert Janish Jr

Senior Sports Writer

It has been a rough go of it so far for first-year coach Todd Clark and his squad, earning only two wins in seven contests, along with three losses and a couple matches that ended in ties as well.

Despite sending a very powerful message with a 16-1 win over Hampton to kick off the year, the team has not had much luck against some of their local rivals, getting shutout 2-0 against the Buffalo Bulls and tying 1-1 with St. Bonaventure Bonnies.

Even though the team has only a couple wins, they are about to head on the road for a couple weeks and have some momentum after winning 1-0 against the New Jersey Institute of Technology Highlanders at the Demske Sports Complex last Sunday, and earned their first home win of the 2015 season.

The 2015 women’s soccer season has seen players step up and provide some offense, such as senior Brittany Krause and sophomore Taylor Kugler, who share the team lead in goals scored with four each, totaling eight of the Griffs 19 goals so far in the young season.

While they are the best offensive players on the team at this very moment, there are also many other players who have been able to make an impact and also be a consistent presence in the starting lineup as well.

Players such as Ronja Gustaffson, Callie Good and Hannah Chesney are among those who have started each game in which they play and have also helped their team in the best ways that they can.

While their goal totals may not be the same as their teammates, they are playing a very significant role on the team and have the same amount of credit in helping their team, as they try to win games.

However, with every offensive and defensive player that’s a part of this team, none are as important and make as much of a difference in a game than the goalkeeper. After three years of playing the backup role on the team, senior Kailee De Franks is finally getting her chance in the starting spot and has handled it well thus far.

Compiling a 2-3-2 record and starting every game this season, De Franks has allowed 10 goals, along with making 39 saves, and also posting a 1.37 goals against average, which is a very impressive number and really shows the talent she possesses in net. With the upcoming road stand, which begins today in Cleveland, De Franks and the rest of the Griffs will look to play some of the best soccer they can play, especially with their Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference schedule beginning on the road next week as well.

Starting today, women’s soccer will take their season on the road for a significant period of time, beginning with a matchup against Cleveland State Vikings. Then the Griffs will travel to Robert Morris for a matchup with the Colonials on Sunday. Then, the all-important MAAC schedule will begin against the Manhattan Jaspers next Friday, September 19th, and travel to Monmouth a week later to face the Hawks to conclude the stretch of road games before returning home September 30th against the Marist Red Foxes.

Last season, the Griffs matchups against some of these opponents did not go as planned. The Griffs did earn victories over their MAAC rivals the Jaspers and the Hawks at home, with scores of 3-0 and 3-2, respectively. However, playing against the Vikings and Colonials did not yield the same results as the Griffs were shutout in both games against those teams last season.

While the Griffs are indeed hoping for similar, wining, results when facing their first two MAAC opponents of 2015.

For every team, it’s usually a very tough task to play a significant number of games in a row, away from the home crowd that cheers them on to victory. However, it’s stretches of games on the road, such as the one this team’s about to embark on, that can help to both grow and strengthen a team’s bond and overall chemistry.

This stretch of four consecutive road games will also be very significant in determining the direction of the Griffs as they begin the all-important conference play.

While head coach Todd Clark is in the midst of his first season as the head coach of the Griffs, He also has the challenge of being in charge of a brand new team and in a brand new conference as well. A four game road stand is a rather tough task for any coach in any sport.

However, it can also be a great benefit as well because it can bring a team closer together and help them grow chemistry and ability to work together on the field during games, which can also help lead to more victories as well.

Tonight a pivotal portion of the team’s schedule begins and the hope for turning around the Griffs season starts as well. Coach Clark can also hope to make his first season at Canisius as successful as he can and help to improve his squad and make them a more overall productive unit on the field. It would also help to earn some very important victories the rest of the way and as a result, earn good seeding in the playoffs as well.

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