(London, Ontario) – On Saturday afternoon in a packed gymnasium for Fanshawe Athletics annual Falcons Fest, the #12 CCAA ranked Fanshawe Women's Volleyball team (12-2) fell to the Niagara Knights (8-6), 3-1. Fanshawe currently sits in second place in the OCAA West Division.
The Falcons and Knights traded points to start the opening set. Fanshawe had a couple of strong blocks from Shannon Morelli (London, ON). With Niagara up 14-11 midway through the set, Fanshawe sparked the crowd with a Meghan Morelli (London, ON) kill to give the Falcons some momentum. Katie Stewart (Gananoque, ON) had a left-side kill of her own, however Niagara maintained their slim lead and went on to win the first set 25-22.
In the second set, Fanshawe went up 4-1 on a beautiful tip from captain Darian Gropp (Kitchener, ON). A massive kill by Shannon Morelli continued the Falcons run, but Niagara would fight back to tie the game at seven. The Knights then took an 11-8 advantage and held on to that lead to win the second set 25-21.
Fanshawe stepped it up in the third set, gaining momentum from defensive hustle plays. Back-to-back kills from Stewart stretched the red and white's lead to 10-6. The Knights would not let up, coming within one before Falcons rookie Ainsley Acton (Lucan, ON) showed her strength with a kill for the home team. Fanshawe got a great stuff block from Meghan Morelli, followed by a tip from Mattea Deleary (Ridgetown, ON). The Falcons continued to extend their lead and won the third set 25-17 on a kill from Acton.
In the fourth frame, the teams traded points throughout the set, with neither team gaining more than a two-point advantage. Shannon and Meghan Morelli continued to provide strong offense for the Falcons, showing why they are both top five in the OCAA in points per set. Niagara pulled ahead 20-15, but Fanshawe regrouped and tied the game at 21 on a Gropp service ace. Looking to force a tiebreaker set, Fanshawe forced the set to extra points, unfortunately, the Knights won 26-24 and therefore the match 3-1. Fifth-year setter Gropp had 38 assists on the match. She now has 1573 career assists and is Fanshawe Women's Volleyball's all-time assist leader.
Fanshawe's Top Performers:
Shannon Morelli – 16 kills, 3 aces, 2 blocks
Meghan Morelli – 14 kills, 3 blocks
Niagara's Top Performer:
Rachel Rivers – 9 kills, 3 aces, 2 blocks
Fanshawe's next match will be on Thursday, February 1 on the road against the St. Clair Saints (10-4), who are currently in third place in the OCAA West Division.
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For further information, please contact:
Sports Information Officer - Fanshawe Athletics
Office: 519-452-4430 x6105