The Niagara News is the community newspaper of Niagara College located in Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada. It is created and produced by the students of the Niagara College Journalism program.
By JOEL OPHARDT Staff Writer CHARLOTTETOWN – Niagara College will have to gather themselves after a tough 3-1 loss to the St. Thomas Tommies. Although eliminated from the finals, the first ever medal for the Niagara College men’s volleyball is still up for grabs. “How you pick yourself up is you remember that this is nationals,” said the St. Catharines native, Steve Stone. “Winning a medal at nationals is what our goal was, so if we are able to do that we should be happy with ourselves.” The Niagara Knights started the game confidently, taking the first set 25-20, before the pressure set in. Losing the next three sets by the narrowest of margins, 22-25, 24-26 and 23-25 respectively, the Knights felt like they sold themselves a little short. “We were too worried that this is nationals and that we got to go all out to win, opposed to just relaxing and playing our game,” said Stone, adding that a tense feeling in the team resulted in a breakdown in communication. Despite the tough start, there were positives to take out of the loss to the heavy hitting Tommies. Cole Jordan led the team with an impressive 17 kills, plaguing the St. Thomas defence throughout the match, and earning him Niagara’s player of the game award. “I thought Cole Jordan played real well for us. I thought, despite not playing nearly our best game of the year, we stuck in it,” said coach Nathan Groenveld. The key going forward for Groenveld is to take a “deep breath” and avoid playing like they’re, “trying to win a national championship on every swing or on every serve,” echoing the feelings from Stone that the Knights had a tense game. Today’s loss has paved a tough road for the Knights as they prepare to face the second seed of the tournament, the Augustana Vikings, tomorrow at noon eastern standard time. The Vikings are coming of a 0-3 loss against the Titans de Limoilou, and Groenveld knows they will be looking for a rebound game themselves. “We’ve just got to play our game,” said Groenveld. “We’ve got a shot at bronze, and we’re going to take that very seriously. We want a medal for us, and for this program.”