Queens set sights on ACAC crown
The last two years the RDC Queens have finished with bronze in the Alberta Colleges Women’s Volleyball League.
Not bad, but not where they wanted to be.
The 2010 ACAC champions have their sights set a little higher this year and if early indications mean anything that may be an realistic goal.
Queens head coach Talbot Walton believes the size and experience in the middle with Leanne Price, Dani Van Alstyne and Shelby Bramall returning and the addition of Megan Schmidt out of Notre Dame should give them as good a middle as there is in the conference.
“We definitely have some size and Dani has worked hard during the summer to be physically stronger and has developed into a solid blocker. As well Leanne is in her third year and Shelby started a lot last year because of injuries and she was close to being a starter when everyone was healthy,” said Walton.
“As for the outside, we have some experience plus we’ll be quick and will be able to run a fast offence, which will be hard to handle.”
Third-year setter Kirsten Sorensen will automatically give the Queens offence a boost. She will be backed up by Notre Dame grad Browyn Hawkes and Westlock native Jordyn Ritter.
Third-year power hitter Brooke Sutter is also back and not only gives the Queens offensive strength, but is one of the premier defensive players in the conference.
“With her defensive abilities she takes a lot of pressure off the libero,” said Walton. “They can concentrate more on their area when they have Brooke alongside them. They won’t have to worry about covering for her.”
Third-year outside hitter Sidney Ponto, who was pushing Sutter and Makenzie Quinn for a starting spot last season, will push to be a starter at power as will Fort McMurray native Karissa Kuhr, who is in her second year.
Libero Matti Quinn is the third player out of Notre Dame while Amber Adolph of Trochu, who played with the Queens U18 Volleyball Club, and Marisa Neufeld of Acme, who is the sister of Jaclyn Neufeld, are outside hitters.
Ritter is one of two players in camp with previous experience.
Ritter, a defensive specialist, who plays libero and setter, spent a year at the University of Saskatchewan before taking the last two years off. Meanwhile, outside hitter Alexis West from Saskatchewan transferred from Olds College.
Walton still has 16 players in camp.
“I’m not sure if we’ll keep 14 or 15,” he said. “We had 22 to start, which is the biggest camp we’ve had since 2002.”
The Queens will see their first action, Sept. 21-23 when they host the Wild Rose Classic.
“It’s a bit early this year, but originally Japan was coming over, but they had to cancel out, so we just kept it the same dates,” explained Walton.
The Queens will also face SAIT and Olds College, Sept, 29, likely in Olds, and travel to Edmonton to meet the University of Alberta Pandas in a practice match, Oct. 12.
“The U of A match will be a perfect way to prepare for the season, plus it gives them a chance to see both Kirsten and Brooke, who are looking at transferring there next year,” concluded Walton.
The volleyball squads open their regular season. Oct. 26 at Grant MacEwan. They host GMU Oct. 27.
• In other news, soccer Queens defender Amber Regnier was named the ACAC female athlete of the week after scoring twice in the Queens 4-0 win over Lakeland Saturday.