The Siena women's lacrosse team gave top-seeded Canisius all it could handle for 40 minutes Friday night in the MAAC semifinals, but the Griffs used a 6-0 run to claim a 14-7 win at Tenney Stadium in Poughkeepsie. Canisius advances to Sunday's Championship game. Siena sees its season end in the semis for a fourth straight year.
"To be honest, they stalled, and it's very difficult to play defense for 25 minutes when they stall the way they did," head coach Andrea Cofrin said of the difference in the two halves.
Siena trailed just 8-6 when Shannon Pfohl touched net with 27:47 to play, but the Saints missed an opportunity to close within a goal, and the Griffs played keep-away during the decisive 6-0 spurt that followed.
Senior transfer Morgan Leonard showed why the MAAC coaches selected her as the league's Midfielder of the Year, playing a role in half of Canisius' tallies, with five goals and two assists. All five goals came in the first half, and without her the Griffs might have been in real trouble.
Canisius held a slim 7-5 lead at the break, an advantage that would have been just 7-6 if Alyssa Treanor's last second shot found the back of the net before the horn sounded. Still, the Saints were in striking range, and that seemed to catch the Griffs off-guard.
"I don't they they expected us to come out the way we did in the first half," senior Katie Maguire said. "To their credit, they responded in the second half the way good teams do."
Senior Maggie Deloria scored Siena's first two goals of the game, and then the underclassmen took over. Freshman Lauren Smith bounced home a free position shot to make it 5-3, and sophomore Julia Sirianni exploded home two minutes later to keep it a two-goal game. Smith spun on her defender and scored at a tough angle with 26 seconds left in the first half to make it 7-5.
The two teams continued trading goals out of the lockerroom with Kotas scoring low before Pfohl's goal. But Canisius held Siena scoreless for the next 20 minutes before promising freshman Sarah Croutier found net to close out the scoring with 6:45 on the clock.
Freshman Ashley Holdridge was solid in goal for the Saints, especially early. Holdridge made 11 saves, and kept things tight for most of the game.
The Saints closed the year with consecutive wins to reach the Championships, something the senior class can say they did in each of their four years with the program.
"I'm so proud of them," Cofrin said of her seniors. "This is my first recruiting class, so they'll always mean something special to me. It's very emotional. But we're already excited about next year."