Friday, February 23rd saw the Niagara Knights women's volleyball program advance to the OCAA Gold Medal match with a dominant 3-0 victory over the Sheridan Bruins. The set scores in the contest were 25-23, 25-11, 25-16. The win guarantees the Knights at least a silver medal and marks the fourth consecutive season the team has found a spot on the OCAA women's volleyball podium.
"I thought tonight was our most complete game of the season" said Niagara Knights women's volleyball head coach Nathan Janzen. "It was great to see everything come together during such a big match. I'm proud of our performance today and we are looking forward to competing for gold tomorrow."
The Knights controlled the majority of the match. The first set saw the two teams trade points, until the Knights service game finally gave the team the two-point win. After that, it was all Niagara, as the team's defensive passing game and offensive attack proved too much for the Bruins.
Niagara was paced by veteran outside hitter Rachel Rivers. The six-foot police foundations standout from Cambridge finished with a match high 14 points on seven kills, five aces, and two blocks. Rivers was named the Knights' player of the game for her performance.
"Every player on our roster contributed today" added Janzen. "Our rookies are doing some great things right now which is fantastic, and our veterans really elevated their play today."
Rookie setter Melissa McFadden finished with 16 assists, five aces, and three kills, while Welland native Natasha Desjardins added six kills, two aces, and five digs. Towering first year middle blocker Tamara Edwards gave the Knights four kills and two blocks.
Jordan Koslowski, who earlier in the tournament was named an OCAA first-team all-star and was the Knights opening match player of the game, finished with seven kills, two blocks, and an ace.
The win returns the Knights to the OCAA Championship match after a one-year hiatus. The team was defeated in the 2015-16 finals by the powerhouse Humber Hawks. Niagara will face the winner of the other semi-final matchup between Humber and St. Clair. First serve for the gold medal game is set for 5:00pm.