Sunday, February 24th saw the Niagara College women’s volleyball program win the bronze medal at the 2017 OCAA Championship being hosted by the St. Clair Saints in Windsor.
The Knights defeated the host Saints in a five set thriller. The set scores in the contest were 25-22, 25-19, 22-25, 22-25, 15-12. The bronze medal gives the Knights a spot on the OCAA podium for the third consecutive season.
The team was led offensively by outside hitters Rachel Rivers (Cambridge) and Jordan Koslowski (Hamilton). Both players finished with a match high 16 points. Rivers provided 16 kills, while Koslowski finished with 10 kills and six service aces.
Niagara setter Bailey Davis (Georgetown) was named the Knights player of the match for the bronze medal game. Davis finished the match with 33 assists, while Koslowski continued her outstanding 2016-17 season by being named to the Championship all-Star team.
“I’m incredibly proud of our resiliency” said Niagara College women’s volleyball head coach Nathan Janzen after the match. “Each individual contributed to this victory and I’m honoured to be a part of a memory that will last these student-athletes a lifetime.”
Resiliency proved to be the name of the Knights’ game all weekend. In the bronze medal match, the team stormed out of the gates taking a two sets to none lead. The Saints then managed to steal all the momentum, and pushed the match to a fifth set. Not willing to back down, the Knights rallied in the final frame and edged out the three point victory. The bronze medal gives the Knights women’s volleyball program OCAA medals in three consecutive years.
The Knights opened the 2017 OCAA Championship with a four set victory over the Cambrian Golden Shield. The set scores in the contest were 18-25, 25-22, 25-19, 25-15. The Knights opened the match slowly, dropping the first set, but showed grit the team has become known for by battling back and winning the match. Koslowski was named the Knights player of the match, as she recorded 24 points on 17 kills, six aces, and a block.
The win in their opening match saw the Knights advance to the semi-finals where they faced the East Division’s unbeaten Durham Lords. The Lords won the match 3-1 with set scores of 25-20, 25-17, 22-25, 25-21. After dropping sets one and two, the Knights rallied and won the third set. The team seemed poised to steal the fourth frame as well, but a red hot late set run by the Lords proved to be the difference. Rivers was named the Knights player of the match.
The Humber Hawks captured the gold medal for the tenth consecutive season after sweeping the Lords in 3-0 in the Championship final.
The Bronze medal gives the Niagara College intercollegiate athletics program six medals in the 2016-17 season. The Knights lay claim to gold medals in men’s team golf, men’s individual golf, and women’s individual golf, a silver medal in women’s curling, and bronze medals in men’s individual golf and women’s volleyball. The team also has a pair of CCAA gold medals in men’s team and men’s individual golf.
The Knights will look to continue their medal winning ways when the men’s and women’s basketball programs head to the OCAA Championships being held at Centennial and Seneca respectively from March 2-4.