SOURCE: Welland Tribune (Bernd Franke)
Niagara College won a medal at the Ontario women's volleyball championships for the fourth year in a row, this time settling for silver after a 3-0 loss to Humber.
Nathan Janzen, who led the Knights to a bronze in his first season at the college, said he was "incredibly proud" of the journey this year's team took to get to provincials which wrapped up Saturday night at Centennial College in Scarborough.
"While it has been a roller coaster, the ride is well worth it," he said. "With so much youth, playing for a gold medal will be an invaluable learning experience for our program going forward."
Prospects for Niagara returning home to Welland with a medal appeared dim after the Knights dropped their first two sets to No. 2 seed Fanshawe in the quarter-final round Thursday.
"The team went into a gear this group has never played at before," Janzen said. "With an incredible comeback, we won the last three sets to advance to the semifinals."
Niagara advanced to the final with a straight-set sweep of Sheridan – 25-23, 25-11, 25-16.
In the gold medal match, the Knights met their match playing against the gold standard in women's college volleyball in Ontario. The Hawks came into Saturday night's final seeking their 11th straight provincial championship.
"Despite making the first and third sets close, they were too much for us to handle, beating us in three sets," the second-year coach said of the loss to Humber.
Set scores were 25-22, 25-7 and 25-20 as the Hawks extended a winning streak in league and playoff games to 152.
Rookie standout Natasha Desjardins was named the Knights' player of the match in the gold medal game, while veteran outside hitters Rachel Rivers (Cambridge) and Jordan Koslowski (Hamilton) were named OCAA Championship all-stars.