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Queens looking to experience for finals

According to the rankings the No. 1 seeded RDC Queens should be heavily favoured when they face the eighth seeded Briercrest Bible College Clippers in the opening round of the Alberta Colleges Women’s Volleyball championships, which open Friday at RDC.

But all you have to do is look at the last time the teams met to get a different picture.

The Clippers did lose twice to the Queens at RDC, but both matches went the distance with the Queens needing to overcome a 2-1 deficit in both.

Queens head coach Talbot Walton is hoping that experience will benefit his team this weekend.

“It won’t be easy,” he said. “But we did learn something from the last time we played them. They’re fairly predictable in what they do, and because we played them not that long ago we know what to prepare for.”

On the other hand the Queens have been able to use a variety of lineups. Plus getting an opportunity to play at home should be a small advantage.

“I hope so,” said Walton. “We’ve talked about it since the beginning of the season and being comfortable in our gym, with our crowd it should be an advantage. Still we have to be at the top of our game.”

The Queens will face the Clippers at 6 p.m. Friday. The three-day tournament opens at 1 p.m. with Grant MacEwan facing Olds while Lakeland takes on Grande Prairie at 3 p.m., in what should be one of the top matches of the day. NAIT clashes with Medicine Hat at 8 p.m.

Lakeland is hosting the national finals this season, which gives them a berth in the championships. That means the other ACAC representative will either be the ACAC champion, or the runner up if Lakeland wins the title.

The semifinals go at 6 and 8 p.m. Saturday with the bronze medal game at 1 p.m. and the final at 3:30 p.m. Sunday.

l The hockey Queens open their best-of-three ACAC semifinal against the Grant MacEwan Griffins Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Arena.

The Queens have faced the Griffins six times during the season, winning five. Their only setback was a 4-0 loss at home prior to Christmas.

But head coach Trevor Keeper isn’t about to take them easy.

“They play hard, they forecheck hard and have good goaltending,” he said. “They’re hard to play against and they are coming in after beating NAIT once last weekend.”

The Queens finished second in the ACAC, one point back of the NAIT Ooks, who received a bye.

“We would have liked the bye, but in the long run it may be better that we’re playing,” said Keeper. “It’s tough to take a week off while the other team is playing and hopefully getting into some good habits.”

The Queens will also be healthy as defenceman Carlee Ness is back after a slight injury.

The second game of the series goes Saturday at 8:15 p.m. at Confederation Arena in Edmonton with the third game, if necessary, Sunday at 12:30 p.m. at the Arena.

l The volleyball Kings also go into the ACAC finals this weekend in Fort McMurray as the top ranked team in the country, but expect a tough test when they meet the Kings University College in their opening game at 3 p.m. Friday.

The Kings beat the Eagles twice this season, but once again both were 3-2.

RDC head coach Aaron Schulha has made a couple of changes to the lineup since the first time they met. He also knows his team will be a little more fired up than normal.

“They used their bench (against MacEwan) so it looked like they were almost wanting to finish eighth and meet us,” said Schulha. “I know all our guys saw that and will have a little more motivation.”

The Eagles have one of the top players in the conference in William Geldeman.

“The key for us is to contain him a bit and defend well against the rest of their team,” said Schulha, who has liked thew way his team has looked this week.

“We practised well and the guys are confident. We set three goals this season. One was to finish first in the league, which we did. The second was win the playoffs and third was win the Canadians. I feel we have to team to do that if we play like we should.”

Other games sees Briercrest taking on Medicine Hat, Keyano meeting Lethbridge and SAIT clashing with MacEwan. The semifinals are Saturday and the final Sunday. The top two teams advance to the nationals.

l The RDC women and mixed curling teams will compete in the ACAC championships this weekend in Olds.

l Hockey Queens centre Ashley Graf and basketball Kings guard Ashaunti Hogan shared the Boston Pizza RDC athlete of the week honours.

Graf helped lead the Queens to a pair of overtime wins against SAIT while Hogan had 38 points, six assists and two steals as the Kings split a doubleheader at Medicine Hat.

Queens futsal netminder, Jesse Stewart, was also in the running for the award.

The hockey Queens received the Breathing Room Yoga Studio and Cafe team of the week award.



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