Griffs Travel East for MAAC Competition

By: Adam Duke

Sports Contributor

Coming off a 3 match win streak at home, the Canisius women’s volleyball team travels across the state this weekend to face off against Manhattan and Iona. With their conference record standing at 2-0, the Griffs look to improve their record against both Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference  rivals.

Coach Cathy Hummel discussed last week’s 3-1 victory over the University at Buffalo Bulls, mentioning how it “created a reward for the team that they hadn’t had too many of.” She then presented her thoughts on the weekend’s’ matchups. “This is what matters- the conference season,” she said, “As far as Manhattan and Iona, there’s not individual weapons, but both teams are going to be tough opponents and we have to take care of the ball on our side of the net.”

Outside Hitter Katlyn Tyler, the team’s leader in kills, said that the Griffs need to play their own game and, “not worry so much about what they do. They’re going to get their points.” She then elaborated further, “If we focus solely on what we’re doing and prepare ourselves before games, it helps a lot. Each team is different, so the approach to every game is different, though it’s similar at the same time.” She also recalled how playing faster paced teams has really readied the Griffs for their upcoming opponents.

Grace Streicher, the team’s starting setter and leader in assists, agreed, saying, “You have to take it one day at a time.” She said that the team needs to remember basic fundamentals and added, “What we really have to work on is consistently playing with the same energy at the same level and not playing down or up to any team, but playing at our level and setting the pace for both games.” She also mentioned that the team has had four days of practice this week and is ready to get on the road and get some wins.

The Griffs go into the weekend with the best conference record of the three teams, with Iona and Manhattan being 0-3 and 1-1, respectively. Last season, the Griffs faced each of these teams, defeating Iona 3-2 on the road and Manhattan 3-1 at home. This season, they look for their recent momentum to carry through the weekend as they prepare to square off against both teams.

Regarding the trip itself, the Griffs do not seem fazed, as they are accustomed to traveling. As Streicher put it, “That’s what preseason is for, to get yourself prepared for these away trips, the ones that count.” Coach Hummel brought up that the team has the same routine, and that the only difference is the distance from home.

On the court, the team looks to keep positive attitudes. As the setter, Streicher mentioned how the team huddles up after every point and how they keep each other focused. “Everybody helps everyone else out. Most definitely, just keeping an energetic spirit throughout the game really helps out too,” she said.

Concerning the deal with ESPN3 and any possible added pressure from being streamed around the world, Hummel contested that she doesn’t believe there is any additional pressure. Streicher agreed, saying that there isn’t time to think about it during a match, “We don’t think about anything else, but we play for each other and we say that every game.” Tyler also had a similar philosophy, saying that she doesn’t personally notice cameras and that the only pressure she feels is the pressure to win. “I don’t think it’s changed much,” she stated.

Coach Hummel also discussed the team as a whole. “I always look forward to the opportunity of getting to a championship game,” she said, “I think the difference in this team from all of those I’ve had in the past is ability and depth. We can go to the bench and there’s no drop-off in talent.” This is also a difficulty for Hummel, however, as she later stated, “You have to find a chemistry that works.” She also indicated that the team needs to get some people fully recovered from injury, but she likes the never-give-up attitude of the team, saying, “They haven’t given up and they have the belief in themselves individually and that really helps the team.”

The Griffs will attempt to capitalize on their recent fortune and continue the winning streak they are currently on. They look forward to the challenges in front of them as they prepare to face Manhattan and Iona.

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