The Niagara Knights women's volleyball program (7-4, 5th OCAA West) were looking to get off to a strong start to the 2019 calendar year when they travelled to Subudry to take on the Boreal Viperes (0-11, 10th OCAA West) and the Cambrian Golden Shield (2-9, 8th OCAA West) this past weekend.
In the first match against Boreal, the Knights cruised to an opening set win taking down the Viperes 25-9. The second set was a much different story, as both teams traded points up until the end. With the score just a one-point game at 20-19 in favour of the Knights, Natasha Desjardins (Welland) and Jordan Koslowski (Hamilton) would help propel their team to the finish line, smashing back to back kills that began a 5-0 run to give the Knights a 25-19 set win. Niagara would ultimately finish off the sweep with a 25-22 victory in set three.
The story was much of the same on Sunday afternoon against Cambrian with the Knights jumping out to an early lead with a 25-16 set one victory. The Golden Shield would hang in and force the Knights to earn their set wins late in the last two, but the Knights finished off their weekend sweep by winning sets two and three 26-24 and 25-23 respectively.
"It's always tough to open up a second half with a five-hour road trip and back-to-back games but we performed very well this weekend," said Knights head coach Natasha Spaling on her team's performance this past weekend. "Those two teams are always challenging to play against, it was nice to see it all come together."
Desjardins led the way in the first match of the weekend, scoring 16.0 points including 10 kills. Melissa McFadden (Hannon) had a strong game as well, as the second-year player had 15.0 points including a dominant 11 service aces, just two shy of the OCAA record for services aces in a single match.
Against the Cambrian Golden Shield, Koslowski finished the match with 16.0 points including a match-high 12 kills to go along with 14 digs. Zeniah Pinnock (Toronto) had nine kills, five service aces and eight digs.
Rookie Montanna Taylor (St. Catharines) had a combined 59 kills over the two-game road-trip.
Spaling was also impressed by the play of both of her Liberos.
"I would like to highlight our two Liberos, Ainsleigh McInnes-Williams (Mount Hope) and Madelyn Berg (St. Catharines)," said Spaling. "They did an excellent job in both defense and serve receive this weekend."
The Knights will play their first home match of 2019 when they invite the Sheridan Bruins (4-7, 7th OCAA West) to the Welland Campus Athletic Centre on Thursday, January 17th at 6pm.