November 25, 2019... WELLAND - After coming off a come from behind five set sweep of the Sheridan Bruins last weekend, the Niagara College Knights women's volleyball team played to another five-setter in Redeemer Friday night, earning the 3-2 (23-25, 25-21, 25-20, 15-25, 15-9) win.
The Knights fell in the first set to Redeemer 23-25, before coming back to win the next two sets 25-21, 25-20. Niagara had the chance to put Redeemer away for good in the fourth, but the Royals climbed back in the game and take set four 25-15. Disappointed in the play of the fourth, the Knights stormed back to win the fifth and deciding set 15-9.
Knights veteran Natasha Desjardins (3rd year, Welland) led the Knights with 15 kills, while libero Madelyn Berg (2nd year, St. Catharines) picked up 15 digs. Setter Montanna Taylor (2nd year, St. Catharines) chipped in 37 assists. Kristen Oudman, who has had a sensational rookie season so far with Niagara, also picked up 12 kills.
Niagara also welcomed back some more senior leadership with Tamara Edwards (3rd year, Vineland) taking the court in the fourth set after missing the start of the season due to injury.
Heading into the match at Redeemer, head coach Steve Dow knew the challenge that awaited his team with the Royal's home gym being notoriously boisterous for any visiting team.
"Playing redeemer at home is always a tough challenge. It's a great atmosphere in a unique setting," said Dow. "Add to that Redeemer having two of the top five outside hitters based on scoring per sett in the OCAA, it makes for a difficult task to walk away with a win."
"Tonight our girls persevered through and earned a tough win. We still did not start the first set well but did a good job in the second and third. We limited some of our unforced errors and started putting redeemer in tougher situations. The fourth set was a bit of a low point but they responded incredibly well in the fifth. We had two girls come off the bench and stabilize our team late in sets. Both first-year rookies, Alexis Barclay (1st year, Wyoming) and TM Nguyen (1st year, Oakville) put in tough serves and made strong defensive plays to help close out sets. Seems every game that we can talk about Natasha DesJardins and her match leading 15 kills or Madeline Berg and her match leading 15digs, but third year middle blocker Tamara Edwards entered the game in the fourth set, playing her very first points of the season, and stabilized us and provided leader ship that was evident in our strong start to the fifth set. We still have a lot of work to do and this upcoming weekend will be a tough test against Fanshawe and St. Clair, both top teams in our division"
The Knights, now 5-2, will play a home-and-home series this weekend when first place Fanshawe (8-0) rolls into town Saturday for a 1:00 P.M. match, followed by a 2:00 P.M. match Sunday December 1st against St. Clair (5-2).