Bittersweet finale: Griffs edged out of playoff spot, finish season strong

By Adam Duke

Sports Reporter

Canisius volleyball concluded its season Nov. 15 with a 3-0 win at home against St. Peter’s. They finished the season at .500, going 9-9 in the MAAC.

Season-wise, I feel like we progressively got better- through to the end. The last few games were really our best, which was really cool to see. We’re super proud of everyone for that,” said setter Grace Streicher, “As for the team, this season was awesome. We had a really great group and we loved each and every one of them.” Streicher finished the season leading the team in assists, with 946. “It was a great team to go out with,” added middle hitter Lauren Siebert, who finished the season with 270 kills and the best hitting percentage in the MAAC, with a .323.

The Griffs concluded the season by beating the Rider Broncs 3-1 and the St. Peter’s Peacocks 3-0. Despite the tremendous finish, the Griffs lost the tiebreaker to the Niagara University Purple Eagles, also 9-9, who had defeated Canisius twice in the regular season. “Obviously, the end result wasn’t the best and that was difficult, but we have to take the positives from it. We were very lucky to have such a great team this year,” said Siebert.

In addition, both Siebert and outside hitter Katlyn Tyler received all MAAC first team honors, while Seibert, Kline, and Streicher earned MAAC all-academic honors.

The conclusion to this season marks the end of an era for Grace Streicher, Lauren Siebert, Rachel Kline, and Jordan Tylec, the four seniors on the Griffs. “This group of girls was an awesome class to play with and it’s cool to see how much we’ve matured, both in volleyball and outside of volleyball. We really grew up together through the four years,” said Kline. Siebert contributed, “In the end, we have a lot to look back on over the four years,” she said, “You’re not always going to remember the wins and losses of volleyball, but rather the memories that you had with your team throughout it and we’ve had some pretty good memories over the past four years.”

In terms of the future ahead, the seniors discussed getting jobs and ‘adulting,’ joking that they aren’t quite sure what it is, but they are going to try it. Tylec suggested playing in various types of recreational leagues, and Siebert discussed the re-identification process. “All of us have been playing sports our entire lives. We’ll actually have to redefine who we are outside of sports. It’s not just the real world of being an adult that we’re facing when we graduate, it’s not having something that’s been part of us our entire lives.”

Next year, the team will be without these four. Regarding this, Siebert asserted, “I think it’s probably going to be one of the hardest transitions from the past few years, just because, not only our four contributions as players, but how close all of us were with the team as well,” to which Streicher added, “As hard as it will be, they do still have their core and the seniors that are going to step in this next year as new leaders, they’re going to do a really good job at pulling the team together.”

In addition to losing the four seniors, next year’s squad will be without Cathy Hummel, who after 15 seasons as head coach, will not be returning. Hummel held a career record of 193-239 at Canisius and was the second coach in the program’s history to earn the MAAC Coach of the Year award, both in 2003 and 2008. “Beyond being a friend and colleague to many on our staff, she has been a tremendous role model for the young women who have been a part of our program. While transitions like this are never easy, I remain confident in our goal of building a program that can compete for a MAAC Championship,” said Bill Maher, the Director of Athletics for Canisius.  Assistant Coach Rachel Stoklosa has taken over as interim coach until a permanent replacement can be found.

The Golden Griffins look ahead with high hopes for next season. Despite missing out on the MAAC playoffs this year, the Griffs fought to the last point, showing resiliency and finishing strong.

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