By Ted Beale
(WINDSOR, ON) – The Niagara Knights won the OCAA gold medal after defeating the St. Clair Saints 3-1 at the Men’s Volleyball Championship Sunday evening at the SportsPlex.
The Saints drew first blood by winning the set 1 by a score of 26-24. However, that set win would be the only one for them in the match as Niagara won three straight en route to the gold medal, sweeping the next three 25-19, 25-17, and 26-24.
“We needed to have a team effort and we had veterans coming off the bench and helping out the younger players,” said Niagara coach Nathan Groenveld. “We knew we had to weather the storm and we did that well.”
“We broke down late in each set loss, but I’m proud of the way our guys played all weekend,” said St. Clair coach Robert Lynch. “This season we’ve gone through adversity with injuries and we battled through everything.”
Fourth-year setter Steve Stone took home tournament MVP honours and was Niagara’s player of the game, with 42 assists and 6 digs, in the Knights gold medal victory.
Third-year outside hitter Jeff Scott contributed to the win with 15 Kills, 11 digs, and a service ace.
Fifth-year middle hitter Peter Christian was the Saints’ player of the game, contributing 8 Kills, 1 stuffed block, and a service ace in the silver medal effort.
St. Clair started the tournament by defeating Durham 3-1 Friday evening and advancing to the semi-finals by defeating Humber 3-1 Saturday. Despite the loss, the silver medal is St. Clair’s first ever medal win in their history.
Niagara kicked off the tournament with an upset victory against Mohawk 3-2 Friday afternoon. The Knights continued the winning trend when they won against Fanshawe in the semi-finals Saturday evening 3-1.
This is Niagara’s 4th gold medal win in their history, with their last one in 2004.
Both St. Clair and Niagara will participate in the CCAA National Championships in Charlottetown, PE, from March 12 through 14.
The Mohawk College Mountaineers captured an OCAA bronze medal after defeating the Fanshawe College Falcons 3-1 at OCAA Men’s Volleyball Championship. The Falcons took the first set 25-22 but Mohawk responded and took control of the match by winning the next two sets 25-23 and 17-25.
The Mountaineers sealed the deal for the bronze medal after winning the fourth set 25-20. Mohawk also won both games with Fanshawe in the regular season with scores of 3-2 on Oct. 25 and 3-1 on Jan. 31.
The tournament all-stars were Mohawk’s Charlie Hancock and Eric Danecke, Niagara’s Bailey Cochrane and Jeff Scott, and St. Clair’s Jason Hernandez and Josh Rankin.
The tournament’s MVP was Niagara’s Steve Stone.