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Kuhr making strong contribution to volleyball team

Karissa Kuhr has to smile when asked about being the forgotten member of the RDC Queens volleyball team.

She’s not, as she plays an important role with the fourth ranked team in the country, but on occasions she gets overlooked when it comes to team awards.

“I just think it’s the position” said the third-year player right side hitter from Fort McMurray.

“I don’t get as many digs as the left side as teams have a tendency to hit cross-court and I don’t get as many balls set to me. But I do get the odd block, which is awesome.”

But all one has to do is look at the team statistics to realize Kuhr’s role with the 16-0 Queens.

She is tied for second in kills with Brooke Sutter with 105, behind only Amber Adolf, and is second on the team with eight aces, back of Sutter.

He also has 20 stuff blocks, which is tied for the most on the team with middle blocker Megan Schmidt and is fourth in digs with 121.

“I think I’m having a decent season,” she said.

“I can see improvement in myself every year, and I see that in the other athletes as well, which is how we’ve developed as a team and consistently got better.”

The Queens need to win three of their final four matches in the regular season to secure first place heading into the playoffs, which are set for Grande Prairie this year.

Last year the Queens were also first with the playoffs at RDC, but finished fourth.

“I think we’re even more confident this year,” said Kuhr.

“We know each other even better than last year and we’ve been training hard on the court and in the gym.

“As well we learned a lot from that situation last year. We didn’t handle the pressure as well as we should have, but we welcome that pressure this year. We feel it’s a privilege to be where we are and a lot of teams wish they were in the same situation. We’re there and we’re mentally ready for it.”

The Queens have a new starting setter this year with Bronwyn Hawkes, replacing Kirsten Sorensen. Kuhr likes how Hawkes moves the ball around.

“She has a different style than Kirsten, most setters do, and it’s worked out that Bronwyn’s style and my style suit each other.

“We seem more connected.”

Kuhr joined the Queens as a left side hitter, but didn’t mind moving across the court.

“I high school I played right side until halfway through my Grade 11 season and then switched to left side,” she explained.

“I came here as a left side hitter, but the second year I saw there was an opening on the right side and asked to move over and its’s worked out. I feel comfortable in both positions.”

Kuhr is taking kinesiology and is in her final year. She’ll move to the University of WInnipeg next year and play with the Wesmen.

RDC faces SAIT in a home and home series this week — Friday in Calgary and Saturday at RDC. The women get underway at 6 p.m. with the men to follow.

The SAIT women come in with a 10-6 record while the Kings, ranked No. 1 in Canada, are 14-0 with the Trojans at 10-4.

RDC finishes their regular season against Grant MacEwan.

• The basketball teams face St. Mary’s University College Lightning Friday at RDC and Saturday in Calgary. Queens tip off at 6 p.m. with the men to follow.

The Queens 7-9, have a chance to even their season record against the 0-16 Lightning.

The Kings, who slipped to seventh in the national rankings after losing to Briercrest on Saturday, are 14-2 with St. Mary’s at 6-10.

• The hockey Queens return to action against NAIT, who they host at 7 p.m. at the Arena Thursday and visit Friday.

Last week the Queens defeated the then first-place Grant MacEwan Griffins twice, helping NAIT move back into first place with 18 points, one ahead of the Griffins and four up on RDC.

• The hockey Kings are in Fort MacMurray for a weekend doubleheader — Friday and Saturday afternoon.

The Kings are third in the conference with 33 points, one ahead of Augustana, one behind SAIT and two back of NAIT. Keyano is 4-17-1 for nine points.

• The men’s and women’s curling teams are back in action this weekend at NAIT.

• Volleyball dominated the Boston Pizza RDC athlete of the week voting.

Left side Tim Finnigan played a major role in the Kings taking both ends of a weekend doubleheader from Briercrest. He had 36 kills, four aces, 25 digs and three stuff blocks in the two matches.

Adolf received the female award after finishing with 19 kills, three aces, 29 digs and four blocks in a weekend sweep at Briercrest.

Other athletes considered for the award were basketball Kings Ashaunti Hogan, hockey Kings Mike Marianchuk, basketball Queens Sarah Williamson and soccer Queens Tatiana Aspillaga.

• The basketball Queens received the Breathing Room team of the week award.

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