Trying to pick up where they left off: Griffs sit at .500 after first four games

By Dave Mauer

Sports Reporter

The Canisius Women’s Lacrosse team, looking to get back to the top of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, got off to a bit of a rocky start this season as they split their first four games to earn themselves a 2-2 record. However, they look to learn from the first four games in preparation for their game with the 4 ranked Louisville Cardinals on Wednesday.

           The Griffs traveled to Ann Arbor, Michigan, in late February to take on the University of Michigan Wolverines for their first game of the season. The Griffs controlled the first half before the Wolverines took over, going on a 7-2 run in the second half to send the Griffs home with a 13-11 defeat. Sophomore Erica Evans, the 2015 MAAC Rookie of the Year, led the Griffs with five goals and recorded seven draw controls. The Griffs led by three goals at the half but were outshot by the Wolverines 17-8 after the break as the Wolverines pulled away.

           “We have a very young team and we need to get some game experience for them to help them grow and be a little more confident,” Head Coach Scott Teeter said. “We let one get away from us in Michigan and that definitely stung a little bit, but those things happen with young teams.”

           The Griffs then returned home to host the Binghamton Bearcats in their home opener at the Demske Sports Complex. Just a couple of days after their loss to the Wolverines, the Griffs bounced back to come away with a 12-7 win. Freshman Tessa Chad contributed a team-high four goals in the win and Sophomore Allie Stewart added another three goals. Senior Taylor Giglio tacked on two goals and two assists in her final home opener for the Griffs, including a goal down the stretch that put the Griffs up for good.

Taylor Giglio's four point game helped the Griffs win their home opener. Photo Credit: Tom Wolf

Taylor Giglio’s four point game helped the Griffs win their home opener. Photo Credit: Tom Wolf

           Following the win, the Griffs traveled to the University of Delaware to take on the Blue Hens. The Griffs never lead in the game after getting into a huge hole early in the contest. Chad scored the Griffs’ first goal with two minutes remaining in the first half, sending the Blue Hens into halftime with a 7-1 lead. The Blue Hens never looked back, winning the contest 13-4 with seven different players scoring goals.

           The Griffs bounced back from the loss with a vengeance, traveling to Pittsburgh to take on the Duquesne University Dukes. The Griffs offense poured on goals and the defense held the Dukes scoreless until the second half.

           “The first three games were a learning experience. We needed to get the rough patches out and the difference in executing our game plan was much better against Duquesne than it was in our first three games,” Evans said.

           The game plan was clearly executed much better against Duquesne, as the Griffs came away with a 17-6 victory. Evans scored a season-high six goals to lead the Griffs in scoring while Giglio, Chad, and sophomore Lauren Smolensky each had multi-goal games of their own. On the back end, Rebecca VanLaeken recorded seven saves for the Griffs.

           The Griffs have a tough matchup up next, as they play host to the nationally ranked Cardinals on Wednesday. The Cardinals are off to the best start in the history of their program, sitting at 7-0 and ranked in the top five of both the Inside Lacrosse poll and the Nike/Lacrosse Magazine poll. With five seniors in the starting lineup, the Cardinals are going to be bringing lots of experience and plenty of leadership to the table.

           “It’s going to be a challenge for our entire team. We have a lot of youth on our roster and it’s going to be interesting to see how our young players fare against their experienced players,” Teeter said.

The Cardinals have one of the top defenses in the nation to go with an offense that has averaged 11.14 goals per game. Their stagnant defense is led by three upperclassmen and is statistically third in the nation, allowing an average of only 5.42 opponent goals per game. It’s definitely going to be a tougher challenge for the Griffs offense to score, and they’re going to need the young players to perform on Wednesday.

           “It’s going to take quick ball movement and a lot of working together. If we can do those two things, we will be able to move their defense well and create shots,” Evans said. “It’s definitely going to take a team effort to come away with a win.”

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