Team Huddle at MAAC Championship match
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Coming off its first-ever appearance in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championship match, the Canisius volleyball team saw seven players honored by the conference Saturday evening, highlighted by senior Sofia Lopez Acosta being named Libero of the Year.
Lopez Acosta becomes the first Golden Griffin libero to win the award since Emily Litwin in 2014. The senior led the MAAC with 5.47 digs pet set, and was tied for fifth averaging 0.35 service aces per set. A native of Mexicali, Mexico, Lopez Acosta recorded 20-plus digs on 14 occasions, including a 31-dig performance versus Loyola Chicago and a career-high 32 digs in the MAAC semifinal win over Rider.
The Griffs also saw two players selected to the All-MAAC First Team for the first time since 2014, as junior Leah Simmons and senior Sara Wesley earned spots on the conference’s top team. Simmons led the Griffs in kills 13 times this season, and eclipsed 10 kills on 16 occasions. The Abington, Pa., native was sixth in the MAAC with 3.22 kills per set and set a career-high with 21 kills at Siena on the way to a 300-kill season. Wesley, a Second Team selection last season, finished second in the conference with a .303 hitting percentage. The Exeter, Pa., native posted nine matches with double-digit kills on the way to back-to-back 200-kill seasons.
Lopez Acosta and junior setter Cassidy Ceriani were also named to the All-MAAC Second Team. Ceriani was the quarterback of the Griffs’ offense, notching 9.78 assists per sets that was good for fourth-best in the conference and surpassing 40 assists in matches this season. The San Diego, Calif., native also tallied nine doubles-doubles, including a triple-double in the season opener versus Montana State, and added on 111 kills over the course of the campaign. Ceriani was previously a 2016 MAAC All-Rookie selection.
Earning MAAC All-Rookie Team selections were freshmen Camila Vazquez and Melina Woods, as both newcomers registered 200-kill campaigns. Vazquez, chosen unanimously, led the entire conference with her .351 hitting percentage and her 0.84 blocks per set was eighth in the MAAC. The Tampa, Fla., native posted a career-high 18 kills in the Oct. 21 win versus Marist. Woods was seventh in the league with 0.33 service aces per set, tallying five service aces in a match twice. The Ada, Ohio native also posted ten matches with 10-or-more kills, including a career-high at Rider. The Griffs have never before had two players selected to the All-Rookie Team in the same season.
Lopez Acosta and Wesley were also named to the MAAC All-Championship Team for their efforts in the semifinal and final matches. Lopez Acosta racked up 62 digs and 11 assists, while Wesley had 24 kills and 11 total blocks.
The 2018 MAAC All-Academic Team was also announced, as Ceriani and senior Donnett Hickson were named to the team for their efforts in the classroom. It is Ceriani’s second time earning the honor, while Hickson is All-Academic for the third time.