Thursday night saw the Niagara Knights men's volleyball program lose a heartbreaking five-set marathon to the CCAA's No.13 ranked Redeemer Royals. The set scores in the contest were 25-19, 24-26, 21-25, 25-17, 15-10.
After dropping the opening frame, the Knights battled back winning the next two sets. The young Niagara side seemed poised for a breakout victory but the talented and veteran Royals has other ambitions, regaining their form in sets four and five to secure the marathon five set win.
"Tonight was a tough loss to the 13th ranked team in the country" said Niagara Knights men's volleyball head coach Nathan Janzen. "I thought we played really hard all night and I loved our fight. As a group there is a lot of good things we can take from this match and playing a tight, five set game like this against an awesome opponent will only help us down the road."
They Knights were led offensively by rookie standout Jaydon Milne (Toronto). The six-foot-three outside hitter finished with a match high 20 kills, while also adding a team high 12 digs. Fellow rookies Jack Sullivan (Guelph) and Elijah Bugiardini (Hamilton) also turned in strong performances finishing with 11 and 10 kills respectively.
"I thought our outside hitters, Jaydon Milne, Jack Sullivan and Elijah Bugiardini were really good offensively" continued Groenveld. "Our middles Tristen Swinden and Jake Williamson were good at the net for us with three stuff blocks each and I really liked the offence Ben Fillmore and Aidan Atkinson ran when they were setting."
The loss drops Niagara to 4-4 at the mid-season break. The team currently sits in 5th place in the highly competitive OCAA West Division. The Knights will return to action on Saturday, January 13th when the team hosts the Conestoga Condors at 3:00pm at the Welland campus athletic centre.