Kings 3 Ooks 1
The RDC Kings couldn’t have asked for a tougher opponent to open the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference men’s volleyball championships.
The Kings drew the NAIT Ooks, who are the biggest team in the eight-team tournament, in the quarter-finals Thursday and had their hands full before coming away with a 27-25, 25-22, 22-25, 15-15 victory before a standing room only crowd at RDC.
In the end it just may be what the Kings needed to kick start the defence of their ACAC and CCAA championships.
“I think it was very important to play a tough team right off the bat,” said Kings head coach Aaron Schulha. “The last time we hosted we faced Briercrest in our first game and they had nothing to lose as they were hosting the nationals.
“It’s good in that it got us going and focused right off the hop.”
The Ooks block kept them in the game over the first three sets, but to the Kings credit they never panicked.
“It would have been easy to panic especially being the higher seeded team, the defending champions and playing at home … all that stuff, but you didn’t see that today … that was a good sign,” added Schulha.
“I was pleased with the guys. The first three sets we were down two or three points midway through but kept battling and tied it at 20. The third set didn’t work out in our favour, but after the loss we rolled in the fourth.”
Regan Fathers played a major role in the Kings victory, finishing with 17 kills — seven in the fourth set — four aces and seven digs. He was one who consistently improved as the match wore on.
“It was the biggest team we faced this year, which was a bit of a change,” Fathers said. “They’re a good blocking team and blocked us a lot early on, myself included.
“Early on No. 10 (six-foot-eight Trevor Zemlak) blocked me several times down the line. We had a time out and changed so that I was hitting cross-court and deeper.
“We believe that no matter how big the other team if we stick to our strengths we can out swing anyone.”