For the fourth time in program history the Niagara College Knights men’s volleyball program is Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) champion. In front of a capacity home crowd of nearly 2000. the Knights defeated the host St. Clair Saints in four sets to claim the provincial title. The set score were 24-26 25-19 25-17 and 26-24
The three-day event hosted by St. Clair College in Windsor saw the Knights defeat the OCAA’s top-ranked Mohawk Mountaineers in their opening match before defeating the Fanshawe Falcons in the semi-finals. The win sees the Knights advance to the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) National Championship hosted by Holland College in Charlottetown PEI March 12-15.
“Our season has been about process and building towards this game” said Niagara College men’s volleyball head coach Nathan Groenveld. The Welland native and former McMaster Marauder continued “I’m proud of each and every member of this program. They have competed hard every single match this season and they should be proud of this accomplishment.”
The gold medal performance rounded out a huge weekend for Niagara College volleyball as the Knights’ women’s volleyball program captured a bronze medal at the OCAA women’s championship on Saturday afternoon. The Knights defeated the Trent University Excalibur in straight sets to win their first OCAA medal since the 2002-03 season.
St. Catharines native Steve Stone was named OCAA Championship MVP. The fourth-year setter led all players in assists and quarterbacked the Knights’ dominant offensive output from start to finish. Stone led the OCAA regular season in assists and was named a 2014-15 second team OCAA all-star.
The gold medal game player of the match award went to the Knights’ third-year outside hitter Bret Polfuss (Kitchener). The six-foot-one Protection Security and Investigations student finished the game seven kills and 11 digs.
For the third consecutive match Georgetown native Jeff Scott led the Knights in scoring. Scott finished the final game with a match high 15 kills while also adding 11 digs. The third-year team captain was named to the Championship all-star team for his performance.
Joining Scott and Stone on the Championship all-star team was second year libero Bailey Cochrane. The Barrie native led all defenders in digs during the event and in the gold medal match Cochrane added 20 digs to his defensive totals. Cochrane is a two-time OCAA all-star and was named an academic all-Canadian in 2013-14.
When asked about how the team will prepare for the National Championship in two weeks Groenveld responded “the guys are going to take a few days off to relax and recover from the this gruelling three day tournament. After that we will regroup and get back to focusing on our overall team process. Our goal since day one this year has been to win our last game of the season. We are looking forward to facing some truly talented opponents in PEI in two weeks.”
The Knights will now head to their first CCAA National Championship since the 2013 when they hosted the event at the Welland campus athletic centre.?