“Timid” Knowles outshines Canadian college volleyballers

Jenn Knowles (10) has taken leadership role at Mohawk.

Jenn Knowles (10) has taken leadership role at Mohawk.

Mohawk volleyball star Jennifer Knowles is the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association’s women’s Volleyball Athlete of the Month in Ontario for November. Knowles, enrolled in the Recreation and Leisure Services program at Mohawk, is a third-year player within the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association but in her first year with the Mountaineers.

The Mountaineers co-captain leads by example, showing dedication to the game and her teammates. She is a versatile athlete, who plays multiple positions, swinging with both her left and right arms effectively. In six league matches in November, she averaged 3.81 points per game with 61 kills, six serving aces, and 13 blocks. Her defense is equally outstanding, being among the league leaders in digs.

Knowles, a graduate of Burlington’s Lord Elgin High School before attending Sheridan College in Oakville for two seasons, was quite surprised when she learned of the honour.

“I’ve always worked really hard but I’ve never even received an OCAA award. Neither has my twin sister, Jessica, who spent a year at Seneca and three at Sheridan, before taking a year off.”

“Jenn Knowles has demonstrated all of the qualities of a veteran player,” said Mountaineers’ head coach Sean Pellow. “She comes to Mohawk this year with as good a work ethic as an athlete can have. Her leadership skills, on and off the court, were evident from the day she walked into our gym back in early August. Jenn is at or near the top of our conference in most important stats categories and continues to work hard to get better. She also continues to help her teammates to improve.”

Knowles said she is not a vocal person. If anything, she leads by example. “It’s more of who I am. I don’t give up.”

The fact Knowles can hit with both arms so effectively came by chance. A natural right-hander, she injured her shoulder while at Sheridan, and required surgery. She couldn’t raise her right arm over her head, so Jessica helped her learn to hit with her left and the skill has remained with her.

Jennifer said she loves it at Mohawk. “I came to the team timidly. Sheridan and Mohawk have such a rivalry. But they made me feel part of the team from day one.”

Despite Knowles thoughts on leadership, coach Pellow doesn’t see it the same way. “We look forward to having Jenn lead us through the remainder of the season and hopefully give her the reward that she is deserving of – an OCAA medal.”