CANISIUS COLLEGE ATHLETICS
Canisius senior Leah Simmons and freshman Bree Long were both recognized as the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference announced its weekly award winners on Tuesday. Opening up the 2019 season in California, the Golden Griffins were winners of back-to-back five-set matches to close out the Sacramento State Invitational with a 2-1 record.
Simmons, a native of Abington, Pa., was named the MAAC Player of the Week while Long, a Temperance, Mich., product, was tabbed the conference’s Libero of the Week. On the weekend, Simmons pounded down 39 kills at a .308 hitting percentage while also recording 10 total blocks. Long, playing in her first three college matches, tallied 61 digs and 14 assists to go with four aces.
This is Simmons’ second time being honored as the MAAC Player of the Week, having also won the honor on Sept. 25, 2018. The 2019 MAAC Preseason Player of the Year opened the campaign by leading the Griffs with nine kills against Sacramento State, hitting at a .474 clip and recording two block assists. The middle hitter then collected a team-leading 17 kills (.286 hitting percentage) in the win over Nevada, to go with three digs, three block assists, a solo block and an assist. She finished the tournament by notching 13 kills and four block assists in the Griffs’ win over CSU Bakersfield, while also registering four digs and two aces. Simmons earned all-tournament honors along with fellow senior Cassidy Ceriani for their efforts.
Long’s 17 digs at Sacramento State are the most in a Canisius debut since Allyson Severyn’s 22 digs in the 2009 season opener, chipping three assists as well against the Hornets. The libero followed with 24 digs against Nevada to go with eight assists and an ace in the win. Long ended the weekend by digging 20 balls in the Griffs’ win over CSU Bakersfield, adding three aces and three assists.
Canisius continues its non-conference slate this weekend at the Jack Kaiser Classic hosted, by St. John’s in Queens, N.Y. The Griffs play the host Red Storm and Howard on Sept. 6 before facing Columbia on Sept. 7.