Returning to MAAC play

By Pat Viola

Sports Reporter

The men’s lacrosse team opened up this season with lots of optimism and talent.  Returning 16 juniors and seniors, this team has a lot of upperclassmen leadership that has certainly helped the Griffs thus far and will continue to be an asset for them the rest of the season.

The team kicked off their season on Feb. 18 with a solid win over Dartmouth, 13-8, at the Pinnacle Athletic Complex, an indoor fieldhouse in Victor, N.Y., a suburb of Rochester. Junior attacker Connor Kearnan posted a career-high nine points in the victory with four goals and five assists, while junior goaltender Liam Ganzhorn had a career-high 14 saves, seven of which came in the fourth quarter.

The Griffs then travelled to Denver, Colo. to play in the Pioneer Face-Off Classic.  The Griffs’ first matchup was against Air Force in which Canisius got out to a slow start, eventually losing 14-5.  Juniors Steven Coss had a career-high four goals while Connor Kearnan had three goals and two assists, attempting to lead a comeback in the fourth quarter but the effort proved to be not enough.

The following day Canisius faced up against a perennial powerhouse and host of the tournament, Denver.  The Pioneers came into the contest as the top-ranked team in the country. Since their meeting, Denver has dropped to sixth in the lacrosse rankings.  Denver lived up to their number one ranking blanking the Griffs, 12-0.  

The team’s next contest came against Cleveland State, currently in their first year as a men’s lacrosse program.  The Vikings opened the game with three straight goals, before being quickly countered by eight unanswered goals by the Griffs.  At the beginning of the second half, Canisius went on another remarkable run, scoring six in a row. Strong play from the Canisius freshmen in the second half allowed the Griffs to run away with the game, 17-7.  Senior midfielder Jeff Edwards matched his career-high in points with four goals and three assists.

On March 14, the team faced off against in-state lacrosse rival Hobart, playing indoors at Pinnacle Athletic Complex once again, in lieu of wintery conditions.  Through three quarters the Golden Griffins trailed 11-8, but Hobart stormed ahead in the fourth ultimately coming out on top, 18-11.  Junior attack Connor Kearnan and Ryan McKee led Canisius with three goals each in the effort.

This past Saturday (March 18), the Griffs played their first conference game against Marist in Victor due to Winter Storm Stella.  Canisius has been prone to having trouble getting off to good starts this year but in that game that was not the case.  Canisius leaped out to a 7-1 lead going into halftime against the Red Foxes, carrying their strong play into the second half. The Griffs scored the first three goals out of the break before Marist would put up a fight in the final quarter. Canisius closed out the game on a 6-2 run defeating Marist, 17-6.

The team is currently coming off of a tough loss Tuesday to Albany, as the Great Danes are one of the better lacrosse programs in the country, consistently ranked in the top 10.  The Griffs were not intimidated hanging with the Great Danes throughout the game. After trailing 15-6 in the first half, the Griffs came back out and played well matching Albany’s scoring, 5-5.  Kearnan and McKee once again led the Griffins with three goals apiece in the 20-11 loss.  

The Griffs, now 3-4 overall and 1-0 within MAAC play, will look to get back on track in their second conference matchup of the season against Manhattan College on Saturday (March 25) in Riverdale, N.Y.

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