Despite a season-high 21 kills from freshman Lauren Hubert, the Canisius volleyball team fell to Purdue Fort Wayne 3-2 in five sets in the final match of the Ellicott Hotels Western New York Invitational Saturday afternoon at the Koessler Athletic Center.

The loss dropped the Golden Griffins to 2-6 on the year, while the Mastodons improved to 5-4 with the victory.

Hubert’s 21 kills came after she recorded a team-high 59 attack attempts. She also tallied nine digs and a service ace in the losing cause. Freshman Cameron Grange posted a double-double effort with 14 kills and 12 digs, while teammate Kara Zaucha added 13 kills, 18 digs and six block assists. Sophomore setter Ella Bourque posted 49 assists in her second match of the season, while junior libero Jillian Hanna registered a team-best 22 digs for the Blue and Gold.
Panna Ratkai led the Mastodons with 19 kills to go along with 14 digs,, while teammate Maggie Castleman chipped in 14 kills and 13 digs to the winning effort. Nicole Jones fueled the Purdue Fort Wayne offense with 39 assists and libero LonDynn Betts was credited with 25 digs in the victory.
The Griffs won the first set, 25-20, with Hubert collecting six kills, including the set-winning kill off an assist from Hanna. The Mastodons would flip the score in the second set, tying the match 1-1, with a 25-20 victory of their own.
The third set was a close affair throughout, with neither team leading by more than four points at any time in the frame. With the score tied at 24-24, Canisius took the lead for good thanks to a kill by freshman Anna Lynch, which was then followed by a service ace from Hanna. That set victory put Canisius up 2-1 in the match.

Trailing 11-10 midway through the fourth set, Purdue Fort Wayne used a 6-0 run to take a 16-11 advantage. In that run, Ratkai and Jena Medearis combined to score four of the Mastodons’ six points. Canisius battled back and trailed 23-21 late in the set thanks to a pair of kills by Hubert, but Purdue Fort Wayne secured the win at 25-21 after a kill from Castleman and a Canisius attack error.
In the fifth set, a Purdue Fort Wayne service error evened the score at 6-6, but that would be as close as the Griffs would get the rest of the way, as the Mastodons outscored Canisius 9-5 to win the set 15-10. In that decisive run, Rataki put down two kills and the Griffs committed three attack attempts to seal the win for the visiting team.
• Saturday was the second meeting between the two schools, with each team earning a five-set victory on the road.
• Canisius has played four five-set matches this season. Last year, the Griffs played five five-set matches over the course of the entire season.
• Lynch recorded two kills, two digs and a block assist in her first career action as a Griff.
• Bourque finished with 40-or more assists for the 10th time in her career, and first since Nov. 5, 2022 at Rider.
• Sophomore Rylee McKinney made her season debut on Saturday and she was credited with three digs.

Canisius opens MAAC play at Fairfield next Saturday, Sept. 16. Game time in Fairfield, Conn., is set for 1 p.m.

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