October 1, 2019...WELLAND - Hailey Gawel (1st year, Crystal beach) and Simon Silverio (1st year, Hamilton) have been selected as the Knights Athlete of the Week, sponsored by NCSAC's The Core and The Armoury.
Gawel transitioned from the midfield position to playing a key defensive role for the Knights back-end this season. In her first year of Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) competition, Hailey has logged 90 minutes per game and has embraced her new role in all games she's suited up for the Knights this season.
In his team's 4-2 loss to Fanshawe College this past weekend, Silverio played all 90 minutes on Friday, and continues to add depth to a very young midfield crew that features only one returning player this season. For head coach Frank DeChellis, Silverio's role in the Knights rebuilding season was cemented during training camp and he has not been a disappointment.
"Simon's abilities on both sides of the ball are impressive as is his ability to read the play and really be a big part of what's going on at all times. Still very young, Simon shows composure against tough opponents and is a credit to his youth coaches."
Friday nights results were not ones Knights fans were hoping for, with both soccer quads falling to Fanshawe College at home.
On the women's side, Niagara faced a very tough match-up against the last year's Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) gold medalists in Fanshawe, who are also on pace for a repeat this year as they sit at no. 2 in the CCAA National rankings at 4-0-1. The Falcons also boast last year's OCAA Female Athlete of the Year and Top Scorer in 2018-2019 (30) with Jade Kovacevic (5th year, Acton)
Kovacevic netted an impressive five of her team's six goals, with Chelsea Zavitz (4th year, St. Thomas) getting the other in their team's 6-0 win over Niagara.
With the loss, the Knights drop to 3-2 on the season and will look ahead to their next home game on Wednsday night against University of Toronto-Mississauga (1-3-1).
Head coach Rob Lalama knew his team was heading into their toughest match of the year facing Fanshawe.
"We witnessed one of the best college teams in the country and the best female college player in the country right now," said Lalama. "We simply just struggled to compete with our depleted line-up right now."
The men started off the first half in positive fashion with second year Oti Frigole (2nd year, St. Catharines) getting the Knights on the board first in opening minutes of the match. Fanshawe responded at the half-way point of the first half to tie things up a 1-1.
The Falcons would then go on a three goal run through the rest of the first half and start of the second, before Frigole notched his second of the night (third of the year) to cut Fanshawe's lead in half at the 58 minute mark. Frigole is one goal away from tying the Knights all time regular season goal record, set by Carlos Williams (2013-2015; 2017-2018) at 15.
The Knights rallied in the last 15 minutes, but time wasn't on their side as Fanshawe went on to the 4-2 win.
With the loss, the Knights fall to 1-4 on the season, but head coach Frank DeChellis is still remaining positive about the way is young team is starting to come together.
"I am pleased by how many chances we created the last three matches," said DeChellis. "Everybody is taking steps forward at different times in this young group and it's nice to see things looking more fluid. Hopefully we don't run out of season before the team has a chance to enjoy some positive results."
DeChellis isn't the only one noticing the change in momentum.
Coming off a two game absence, Frigole is also noticing the coming together of his squad.
"It was great to be back with the team after missing the last two games," said Frigole. " I feel as though we were finally beginning to gel and work strong as a collective unit. Fanshawe was a great opponent and we deserved a better result. They're a great team and I believe our performance tonight despite the lost showed the fans and even ourselves that we belong here and to finish in the top half of this division. I look forward to see the great things we bring on Wednesday against UTM."
First year midfielder Rhys Jones echoed Frigole's thoughts.
"I think the boys fought hard tonight from back to front with everyone putting in a full shift,' said Jones. "The result is obviously not what we are looking for at this point in the season, but nevertheless we grew as a unit once again. Now the focus has to switch to the game against UTM on Wednesday night."
The Knights will look to rebound from Friday's result on Wednesday, when The University of Toronto-Mississauga (4-1) roles into town for an evening match-up at Youngs Sportsplex.
Knights In Action this Week:
Men's and Women's Soccer are at home Wednesday night when UTM rolls into town. Games are a go for 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. They will then travel to Sheridan College on Saturday for set of afternoon match-ups.
Men's and Women's Basketball are on the road this weekend at the Georgian College Pre-season Tournament Oct 5th-6th
Women's Volleyball hosts their Niagara College Pre-season Invitational Oct 5-6th in Welland
Men's Volleyball hits the road to Seneca College for a weekend pre-season tournament Oct 4-5th