Thursday, February 22nd saw the Niagara Knights women's volleyball program advance to the OCAA semi-finals with a come-from-behind five set victory over the OCAA No. 2 ranked Fanshawe Falcons. The set scores in the contest were 18-25, 17-25, 26-24, 26-24, 15-11.
The Knights fell into a deep hole early in the contest, dropping the opening two sets in convincing fashion to their London based opponents. Niagara found themselves with their backs against the wall in the third, falling behind 15-13 before taking a timeout, finding their composure and rallying to win the set.
Again in the fourth, the Knights fell behind 18-12 and appeared to be headed towards first round elimination. The team again rallied to take the fourth set 26-24. The fifth frame was all Niagara as the Knights controlled the set form the opening serve to secure the gritty victory.
"We had so many chances to give up today and we didn't" said Niagara Knights head coach Nathan Janzen. "We kept competing, and competing and found a way to claw back into the match. Our serving was a huge difference maker in the fourth and fifth set, and it was great to see all our hard work in the gym pay off in such a big game."
Offensively the Knights were led by recently named OCAA first-team all-star Jordan Koslowski (Hamilton). The third year outside hitter was named to the all-conference team at the annual women's volleyball awards banquet held Thursday morning. Koslowski finished with 18 points on 15 kills, two aces, and a block. This marks the second consecutive season Koslowski has been named an OCAA first-team all-star.
"I though Natasha Desjardin also had a fantastic game for us today" continued Janzen. "She was great for us in the back court, and stepped up with some key points for us at crucial times in the match."
Desjardins, a rookie outside hitter out of Jean Vanier in Welland was an all-around force for Niagara. The five-foot-ten outside hitter finished with seven kills, 12 digs, two aces, two assists, and a block.
The win advances the Knights to the OCAA Championship semi-final on Friday, February 23rd where they will face the Sheridan Bruins who defeated the OCAA East Champion Loyalist Lancers. The winner of Friday's 6:00pm semi-final matchup will advance to the gold medal game on Saturday, while the loser will compete for bronze.
For more information visit the OCAA Women's volleyball championship website at www.ocaa.com/wvb.