Buffalo, N.Y. - The second-seeded Canisius College Golden Griffins defeated top-seeded Fairfield University Stags in the 2012 Women's Lacrosse Championship, 15-11, in Buffalo, N.Y. at Demske Sports Complex.
The Griffs, who improved to 10-8 with the win, advance to an NCAA Tournament Play-In Game next Sunday at Atlantic 10 Champion Massachusetts.
Junior Morgan Leonard earned Championship Most Valuable Player honors after leading the Griffs during the weekend. The junior matched season highs with five points and four goals in the winning effort and also added two caused turnovers, two draw controls and two ground balls. During the two victories in the tournament, Leonard totaled nine points, eight goals, seven draw controls, four ground balls and three caused turnovers.
Leonard was joined on the MAAC All-Tournament Team by seniors Megan Oosting and Carly Quinn, junior Lindsey Morgan and sophomore Maria Kotas.
Quinn and Morgan matched Leonard with a game-high five points in the winning effort. Quinn recorded two goals and three assists and in the process, matched the program's all-time points record. The senior has now amassed 200 career points on 106 goals and 94 assists, tying the record by Lauren Walsh (2005-08). Morgan recorded her five points on four goals and one assist.
Oosting recorded four points, three goals and one assist on the offensive end to go along with a Canisius postseason-record seven draw controls. With her three goals, Oosting raised her season total to 55 to set the school's single-season standard.
After recording a career-best four points in the semifinal victory, Kotas chipped in an assist, four draw controls, one caused turnover and one ground ball in the winning effort. Freshmen Meghan Cuddy and Tori Quinn rounded out the scoring for Canisius with a goal each.
The Stags (13-4) opened the contest strong, netting two goals in the opening 1:54 to grab the two-goal advantage before Canisius ever held the ball. The Griffs, however, answered back and after goals by Morgan and Leonard, Canisius found itself tied with 19:33 remaining.
Fairfield scored two of the next three tallies for a 4-3 advantage but the momentum turned Canisius' way after that. A goal by Leonard and two tallies by Morgan gave the Griffs a 6-4 lead it would not relinquish. The Stags pulled to within one at 7-6 with under three minutes remaining in the half but Canisius gained possession while a man down, successfully killed the two-minute penalty and Leonard then found the back of the net with just 16 seconds remaining in the period for an 8-6 intermission lead.
The Griffs dominated early in the second half, winning possession on draw controls and finishing their chances to pull away. Canisius won seven of the first eight draw controls during the period, while building their lead to seven, 14-7. The Griffs defense also played a key role in the run, keeping Fairfield off the scoreboard for the first 22:39 of the period. Canisius allowed only one shot on goal in six Fairfield possessions during the 22 minute-plus run.
The Stags netted four of the game's final five goals but it was too little, too late as Canisius earned its second-straight championship over Fairfield, 15-11.
Canisius finished the game with a 28-22 advantage in shots and a 17-11 edge in draw controls. Courtney Chmil led the Stags with three goals, while Katie Keenan recorded nine saves in the losing effort.
The Griffs now advance to the NCAA Tournament Play-In Game against the Minutewomen next Sunday. Massachusetts defeated Richmond on Sunday in the Atlantic 10 Championship, 14-9.
The Griffs defeated the Stags in last year's championship by the score of 13-8, to capture the schools first ever Women's Lacrosse title. They are now 2-1 all-time in the championship game.