The Niagara Knights women's (9-5, 5th OCAA West) and men's (9-5, 4th OCAA West) hosted the Conestoga Condors on Thursday evening, both looking to keep up their recent win streaks. Coming into the matches, the women's program had won three straight, while the men had won four straight and eight of their past nine, which was noticed across the country as they were named the CCAA's 15th ranked program in the lastest national rankings.
The women got things started on a high note by winning the first set 25-18 thanks to an impressive set by Olivia Burnie (Orillia) who had seven kills. The Knights kept their momentum rolling, winning the next two sets 25-20 and 25-19 to pick up a 3-0 victory.
"We had a great win tonight," said Knights head coach Natasha Spaling after her team's win. "I would like to highlight Olivia Burnie and Zeniah Pinnock, our two outside hitters. From offence to defence our outside hitters showed tremendous maturity and leadership."
The men started things off very similarly, picking up wins in each of the first two sets (25-21, 25-19). The Condors would bounce back and frighten the home crowd, however, winning the next two sets (25-19, 27-25) to force a fifth and final set. Niagara prevailed, however, winning the deciding set 15-12 to earn a 3-2 victory.
Playing the Fanshawe Falcons on Saturday afternoon on the road, things didn't go as smoothly. In the most recent CCAA rankings, the Falcons' women's program was ranked fifth nationally while the men were ranked first. The Falcons would defeat the Knights 3-0 in both the women's and the men's matchups.
Men's Volleyball head coach Tommy Sloan was impressed with the way his players played despite the loss.
"With it being Falcon Fest on Saturday, we wanted to use this game to see how we'd react in a championship atmosphere and it was very encouraging to see that our guys played like they were ready and hungry for the spotlight. I'm proud of how we battled and we'll be ready to go this Wednesday against Mohawk."
Burnie, the Knights rookie outside hitter, led the Knights in both matches. She had 14 kills in the first match along with two service aces, one block and seven digs on Thursday before adding eight kills and five digs against the Falcons on Saturday. Setter Melissa McFadden (Hannon) had 25 assists against Conestoga and 15 against Fanshawe.
For the men, Jaydon Milne (Toronto) had 23 kills and two service aces against Conestoga and added another 10 kills against Fanshawe. The second year outside hitter also added five digs in each match.
Ben Fillmore (Port Dover) had a combined 58 assists over the two matches while Libero Robert Zalewski (Ingersoll) had 28 digs.
The Knights will play host to the Mohawk Mountaineers on Wednesday, January 30th, also known as Bell Let's Talk Day. The NC Let's Talk matchups are happening at 6pm and 8pm. Fans attending the games will receive a limited number of Bell Let's Talk touques, noise makers and thought bubbles which will be filled out and placed on the wall inside the gym.