Women’s lax to host Niagara to open MAAC Tournament

Cummings-5

Bryar Cummings scored twice in Canisius’ 15-10 win over Niagara on Wednesday. (Marshall Haim/The Griffin)

By Sam Brouwere

Senior Sports Reporter

The Griffs will host the Niagara Purple Eagles in the opening round of the MAAC Tournament this Saturday at 7 p.m.

Canisius will share the MAAC regular season title with Marist, Monmouth and Fairfield, but because of tiebreakers the Griffs finished fourth out of the group and will be playing the fifth-seeded Purple Eagles.

The Griffs edged out the Purple Eagles on Wednesday, 15-10, in an important game that allows them to host the Purple Eagles in the first round game, rather than going on the road.

“It was a big game for us,” head coach Allison Daley said. “The weather conditions weren’t ideal, but it was nice to see our team battle through that and really stay focused on our stick work and the fundamentals of the game. It was an exciting win for us and was an opportunity for us to improve from the game against Fairfield on Saturday.”

Sophomore Rachel Ryan and senior Jen Reininger helped the lead the Griffs to victory by scoring five goals apiece. Junior Jourdan Roemer and sophomore Bryar Cummings both scored twice, and senior Lauren Smolensky scored as well. Senior goalkeeper Rebecca Van Laken made 13 saves.

Playing the Purple Eagles in an important game especially after playing them three days earlier is definitely an advantage for the Griffs.

“It’s certainly a quick turnaround for us by playing the same team,” Daley said. “It will be nice because we can really focus on ourselves, watch the film and make some adjustments. We can also make some improvements on ourselves and tweak our game plan a little bit to have a couple different looks moving forward. I think it gives us a good opportunity because it is the same opponent and we can focus on ourselves to get better.”

The Griffs have had success in the MAAC Tournament in previous years, winning the tournament six of the last seven years. Even though they are only the No. 4 seed, they still should have confidence going into the tournament because of their historic success. It is the lowest seed for Canisius in MAAC tournament history.

Also, the Griffs have many players that have been very productive to this point. Roemer leads the team with 68 points (44 goals, 24 assists) and Reininger is in second place with 50 points (41 goals, nine assists).

“I think confidence is going to be huge on Saturday,” Daley said. “Although the championship round won’t be at home and it’s only the first round, our girls are comfortable playing at home. We’ve been home the last three tournaments so I think they’re excited to play at home.”

If the Griffs defeat the Purple Eagles on Saturday, they will travel to Poughkeepsie, N.Y. next Friday to either play first-seeded Marist or second-seeded Monmouth. This all will depend on the result of the game between third-seeded Fairfield and sixth-seeded Iona.

They are heading into the tournament with the right mindset of worrying about the team that is currently in front of them and take it one day at a time.

“We gotta take it one day at a time and get through Niagara first,” Daley said.

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