Postseason play on the horizon

By Robert Janish

Senior Sports Writer

The Griffs’ women’s soccer team played the Siena Saints on the final day of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference regular season in a game that had a lot of implications. The importance of the game came from the effects it would have on seeding for the MAAC postseason.

Siena went into the game ranked second, while Canisius was in the sixth and final postseason spot. It may have seemed like a tough last match for the Griffs, but Head Coach Todd Clark was able to keep his team together throughout the entire game.

As the game began, there were no goals scored but the Griffs held a 4-1 lead in shots on goal. The second half would be a different story, as freshman Gretta Dry notched her eighth goal of the season about ten minutes into the second half to give her team a 1-0 lead.

That would be the only scoring throughout the entire 90 minutes as Canisius earned their sixth MAAC win of the year, improving to 6-4. A loss to Marist elevated them to the fifth seed, setting up a date with destiny against the Quinnipiac University Bobcats in the first round.

Dry said that she’s glad about the team’s overall victory to close out the regular season, along with scoring her eighth goal of the season. “I think it gave us confidence,” Dry said about their win before facing Quinnipiac. She added how it was important to get a win, especially over a good team like Siena, heading into this pivotal matchup.

Head Coach Todd Clark was very pleased with his team’s performance against Siena, saying, “It is definitely what we asked them to do.”

“Even though we played what most people call a defend and counter,” said Clark, “I think our counters were obviously quite dangerous.” Clark’s defense was noticeably the strong point of his team during the game. Clark elaborated on how the strategy did start a bit slow at first, but they kept it up until the goal finally gave them a lead, which they would hold for the remainder of the game.

Senior back Callie Good says her team performed amazing against the Saints. Good and the team knew it was going to be a tough, hard-fought game from the start, and she praised her teammates’ intensity in how they were always sliding and diving for the ball.

“We didn’t know how many chances going forward we were going to get, so we knew we had to take advantage of the ones we did and I think we did that,” said Good.

Clark said that throughout the year, “there have been a lot of games where, if we’re successful early, we walk away very happy, and there have been some times when we don’t have success and it doesn’t come easy. We pay the price for that.”

This, however, was a challenging game for a younger team, but Clark says new things are always being taught to the team, and said, “I was extremely pleased that we stayed within the framework of what we had asked them to do and things that I think they understand are going to be the key to their success.”

Clark says the team had motivation in this game to win at home and bolster their overall record heading into the MAAC tournament. “I’m really happy that the players were motivated, [but] not by us pushing them,” he said. “The game itself motivated them.”

“I left everything I had out there,” said Good about her last home game. “I’m walking away proud. I think I tackled when I could. I didn’t have any legs left at the end of the game, so I think I’m proud of how I ended it here.”

This Saturday, the Griffs will face Quinnipiac in the first round of the MAAC Tournament with hopes to earn some retaliation for the 3-0 shutout loss they received in Connecticut earlier this season.

Clark said the team was not crisp in the earlier meeting with the Bobcats and, as a result, were unable to get the job done.

“We finished tied for fourth in the MAAC,” said Clark. “We were picked ninth so I think we’ve had a little bit of a chip on our shoulder the whole time.” He added that, when you go to a play a team you lost to earlier on, “you’re going to go back with an even bigger motivation and bigger chip on your shoulder that you want to prove that first time was a stumble.”

Dry said that it is always good to enter a game when you know what to expect from opposition after their faceoff earlier in the season. This is the best chance for the Griffs to win the rematch with the Bobcats; with it being a playoff game, it’s win or go home for the Griffs.

Good added how their earlier matchup against Quinnipiac was not a proud moment for their team. “That’s not the soccer we’re capable of playing,” Good said. She says this win will help the team’s confidence and, “if we play like we did today, it’ll be a different result.”

Clark said there is always pressure in a situation like that and hopes to follow the example of last year’s Siena squad, who was seeded sixth and won it all. “The way the games went today, it’s just more proof that on the women’s soccer side of the MAAC, anybody can beat anybody on the day and all we got to do is do that three times.”

“If we play like we’re capable of playing, I think we could go as far as we want to go,” Good said about her team’s chances in the tournament.

“I think we’re going to do very well,” Dry said, echoing her teammate’s feelings about their chances. “I think we’re all excited to be here. We haven’t been here in a while, so we’re just going to go off the excitement.”

The Griffs will begin their quest for a MAAC championship tomorrow against Quinnipiac with not only hopes of avenging their shutout loss earlier this season, but also hopes to move one step closer to achieving their goal.

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