Kings triumph in tournament
Kings 3 Lumberjacks 0
The competition in the Ramada Inn and Suites Challenge Cup men’s volleyball tournament wasn’t the best, but the RDC Kings accomplished what they set out to do.
The Kings rolled through the eight-team tournament undefeated, capping off the weekend with a 25-20, 25-23, 25-18 victory over the University of Calgary Alumni Lumberjacks at RDC Sunday afternoon.
“I’m not sure they (Lunberjacks) played their best as they were a bit tired after three days, but they gave us some tough competition which was what we wanted,” said Kings head coach Aaron Schulha.
The Kings have considerable depth this season, which showed in the final.
They were without middle blocker Sean Tuff, who was away at his sister’s wedding, plus they lost outstanding power hitter Quentin Schmidt in the second set with a slight ankle injury.
“Quentin has been a huge part of what we’re doing, but David (King) stepped in and did a good job and Dennis (Wierenga) took more of a load on his shoulders. It showed a lot of character for sure.”
Schmidt had six kills before he went down while King finished with four kills and a stuff block.
Wierenga finished with 14 kills and four blocks.
Trent Schmidt started in place of Tuff and contributed two blocks and a pair of kills.
“With Sean away it gave us a good look at Trent,” said Schulha.
“He’s a good blocker, but needs a little work on the offensive side. But he’s a middle blocker for a reason and will get quality time this season.”
Depth is something Schulha knew they’d have this season.
“We’re happy with the fact we don’t have just one guy to rely on,” he said.
“It’s a collective effort were our setters Jackson (Maris) and Travis (Czainski) can spread the ball around. We have a number of hitters capable of doing the job, which will make us a tougher team to play against.”
Kings veteran middle and captain, Boston Maris, agrees,
“The last few years Red Deer has been known as a team with one superstar, but this year everyone on the floor and on the bench can turn the game around in our favour,” he said.
Defence is also a strong point, points our Maris.
“As a middle I get a chance to sit and watch as we make a number of big plays. There’s nothing like a big dig to turn the game around.”
“We stressed defence last year and didn’t follow through, but this year everyone is holding each other accountable in practice and it shows,” added Schulha.
“Matt (Saunders) and Pat (McIntyre), our two liberos, are both playing well and (power hitter) Tucker (Leinweber) was the best libero in the league at the end of last year.
“With Tucker at power, a libero and Quentin on the floor we’re making a lot of plays. Plus our block is stronger this year which makes it easier for the back row.”
Boston Maris is looking forward to being one of the leaders with this year’s group and looking forward to leading them back to the national finals.
“We got a taste of it last year and once you get that taste you want to go back. Plus we know what it takes.”
The Kings reached the final with a 235-22, 25-21, 25-19 victory over the University of Alberta-Augustana Vikings while the Lumberjacks beat the RDC Alumni A team 25-21, 25-13, 25-21.
The Alumni B squad downed Olds College A 25-16, 25-13, 25-20 in the consolation final. Earlier Olds
A stopped the NAIT Alumni 25-12, 20-25, 25-18, 25-23 and the Alumni B downed Olds B 25-16, 25-13, 25-20.
• In the women’s tournament at Grant MacEwan University the Queens lost 20-25, 20-25, 23-25 to the host Griffins in the bronze medal semifinal.
The RDC teams open league play Oct. 28-29 at home against Briercrest.
— copyright Red Deer Advocate