Kings, Queens sweep Kodiaks in college volleyball action
Kings 3 Kodiaks 0
When the first Canadian Colleges Athletic Association men’s volleyball rankings came out Tuesday RDC Kings head coach Aaron Schulha liked what he saw.
Not only were the Kings ranked third in the country, but the Lethbridge Kodiaks, who just happened to be the RDC opponents this weekend, were ranked seventh.
It forced the Kings to concentrate that much harder as they prepared for the weekend doubleheader at RDC.
“That’s how we prepared,” said Schulha. “Our pregame discussion was that this is potentially our biggest challenge we’ll have until January and we have to embrace it. We’ll see how good we are and the guys took that to heart and trained hard.”
That was evident Friday as the Kings rolled to a 25-18, 25-16, 25-17 victory over the Kodiaks before a large crowd despite the bad weather.
The win gave the Kings a 5-0 record while Lethbridge dropped to 5-2. The teams meet again today following the women’s contest which gets underway at 1 p.m. at RDC.
And Schulha expects the Kodiaks to be that much tougher.
“They didn’t play their best and I expect them to be better tomorrow,” he said. “But we did what we prepared for, now it’s a matter of not relaxing. We need to refocus and be ready for what they’ll throw at us and make sure we execute. If we do I think we’ll be OK.”
What the Kings do have are two of the best outside hitters in the conference in Chris Osborn and Tim Finnigan. Osborn was practically unstoppable, finishing with 16 kills, three digs and a block. Finnigan has been sharper, but added seven kills, two blocks and five digs.
“Tim wasn’t as crisp as he has been while Chris was as good as he’s been all year” said Schulha. “When those two are both going we’re hard to beat. They open up the middle and as long as we pass the ball we’ll be fine.”
Kings rookie setter Sam Brisbane was also sharp as he was able to run a diversified attack.
“Sam did a good job mixing it up and making it hard on their blockers,” said Schulha.
Chris Jones added six kills while Brisbane had eight digs. Nic Dubinsky led the Kodiaks with 10 kills and two blocks.
Queens 3 Kodiaks 1
While the Kings were near the top of their game the Queens were a bit sloppy at times, but still pulled out a 25-17, 25-20, 21-25, 25-18 victory.
“It seems that they lulled us to sleep at times as they missed a lot of serves,” said Queens head coach Talbot Walton, who also used everyone on his bench at one time or another. In fact he used Notre Dame grad Megan Schmidt in the middle for half the match.
“Megan has done a good job at practice and is continuing to improve and despite not playing a set all year came in and played a strong match,” said Walton, who also used Marissa Neufeld on the left side for much of the middle two sets.
“Marissa also has been strong at practice and earned some playing time. She was a little nervous, but she had some good swings on sets that maybe a little out of the system.”
Walton did agree that the match didn’t seem to have a lot of flow and possibly the fact Lethbridge travelled Friday on the bad roads and the heavy snowfall may have been a distraction for both teams.
“There was something weird going on for sure,” he said. “But in the first, second and fourth sets we played well enough to get some separation and were able to sustain it. We’ll take the win and it was an improvement over our first two performances at home as we started strong. Now we have to work on maintaining that level of intensity.”
The win gave the Queens a 3-2 record with Lethbridge at 3-4.
Leanne Price was the RDC player of the match with nine kills, six stuff blocks, two aces and two digs. Sidney Ponto had nine kills and eight digs while Karissa Kuhr had seven kills, two aces, a block and three digs and Maddi Quinn 23 digs.
Cheyenne Schneider had eight kills and six digs for Lethbridge while Alex Pasemko had six kills, two blocks and seven digs and Madisyn Chambers six kills and eight digs.
• Meanwhile, the Olds Broncos split a pair of matches in Lloydminster against Lakeland. Olds won the men’s contest 30-28, 14-25, 22-25, 26-24, 16-14 and lost the women’s match 17-25, 19-25, 20-25.