BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The road to the MAAC title game has been very different for Canisius and Siena.
Coming in as the top-seed in the tournament, the Griffs got a first round bye, then advanced to the championship with a 5-2 win over Marist in the quarterfinals, and a thrilling 2-1 comeback victory over Iona in the semifinals on Friday.
Siena, however, lost their opening game of the tournament and had to fight through the elimination bracket, including scoring seven unanswered runs in the game against Iona yesterday to advance to the championship on Saturday.
Canisius opens up the scoring on the day. In the bottom of the first, Gianna Fazzolari ropes a double down the third base line. Christie McGee-Ross trades places with her and scores from second to give the Griffs the early 1-0 lead.
Bottom of the fourth, the Griffs add to their lead when Tiara Johnson blasts a shot out to right field to score Sam Weber. It’s now 2-0.
Next batter up, Sophia Recrosio slips one up the middle for a double. Johnson comes home, Canisius takes a 3-0 lead.
The Griffs add another run in the inning to lead 4-0.
Canisius pitcher Megan Giese was outstanding in the circle again today, recording five strikeouts and no walks. She pitched in every game this weekend, recording over 300 pitches in 3 days. Giese was later named MAAC Tournament MVP for her efforts in the circle this weekend.
After a heartbreaking loss in the championship game last season, Canisius comes out on top this season! The Griffs shut out Siena 4-0 to win their first MAAC Championship since 2009 and punch their ticket to the NCAA Tournament!
“It feels amazing. There’s a group of four girls here that have been working for this for five years and we finally pulled through and did it,” Canisius leftfielder Erin Hufford said. “We’ve been working our butts off all year for this exact moment. We came to the tournament, won three games, Megan [Giese] threw amazing all week and it just means the world. Now I don’t have to end my softball career yet! I get to play more softball!”
“I really can’t put it into words, but what I can say is that it’s well deserved,” Canisius catcher Gianna Fazzolari said. “We worked so hard this season and we focused on so many of the little things. We talk all the time about that, and it’s well deserved. I’m so, so blessed that we got to win.”
“This is what we’ve been working the whole year for. We got so close last year, so to get it this year is just incredible with this group of girls,” Canisius pitcher Megan Giese said.
Canisius will find out who they will play in the Regional round of the NCAA Tournament on Selection Sunday.