The Niagara Knights men's volleyball program spilt there weekend road trip with a 3-2 victory over the St. Clair Saints (8-7, 4th OCAA West) and a 3-0 loss to the undefeated Fanshawe Falcons (14-0, 1st OCAA West). The results from Friday and Saturday put that Knights at 7-7 on the season, good enough for 5th place in the OCAA West Division.
The opening set between Niagara and St. Clair saw the Knights struggle, dropping the first set 19-25. Niagara rebounded well in the second, taking the set 25-23. The two west division rivals would then exchange victories in the third (St. Clair 25-23) and fourth (Niagara) 25-22, setting up the 5th and final set to determine a victor. During the final set, the Knights would dominate the Saints, crushing them 15-5.
"We battled really hard and played really well in bunches in our 5 set win against St Clair," said Knights head coach Nathan Groenveld. "I thought we served really well in the match, we were accurate and forced their setter into some really difficult sets. It took us a bit, but once we found our block timing we put on a clinic."
In Saturday's matchup, Niagara dropped three straights to a Falcons' program that has lost 4 sets all season. The Set scores were 25-20, 25-17, 25-13.
"Against Fanshawe, we saw offensive efficiency at its finest," said Groenveld. "They were running and gunning. They run a completely different system (4 outside hitters and 1 middle), and it took us a while to get the rhythm of that. Even when we did their outside hitters are really good."
Knights' first year outside hitter Elijah Bugiardini (Hamilton, Ont.) led Niagara with 8 kills.
The Knights are back in action next weekend when they host the visiting Boreal Vipers (0-14, 10th OCAA West) Friday, February 2nd and the Cambrian Golden Shield (2-12, 9th OCAA West) Saturday, February 3rd.