Sunday, February 18th saw the Niagara Knights men's volleyball program advance to this year's OCAA Championships after defeating the OCAA East Division Durham Lords at the Welland Campus Athletic Centre three sets to none. The final set scores between Niagara and Durham were 25-17, 25-20 and 25-17.
Niagara looked dominant in their playoff game against Durham, controlling the play on both sides of the court through all three sets. The Knights' offense was the difference maker Sunday afternoon, generating 34 kills compared to Durham's 20.
"I thought our young guys handled the atmosphere and their first career playoff game really well today," said Knights' head coach Nathan Groenveld. "I thought we came out aggressive early and really dictated the style of play for the entire game. We were really good defensively and I thought our block was disciplined enough to let us get digs and then turn them into transition kills."
The Knights were paced offensively by their 2nd year outside hitter Mitch Sawatsky (St. Catharines, Ont.), who led his program with a match high 13 kills and 16 total points.
Niagara's 1st year libero Robert Zalewski (Ingersoll, Ont.) led the defensive charge for the Knights, finishing with a match high 9 digs. "Robbie was fantastic in serve receive and defense again today," said Groenveld. "He has been our leader in that department and it has been exciting seeing him grow as a player."
The Knights are back in action Thursday, February 22nd when they faceoff against the hosting Georgian Grizzlies in the first round of this year's OCAA Championships. The event will commence from February 22nd to February 24th at the Georgian College Athletic and Fitness Centre located in Barrie, Ontario.