Queens eye first-place finish while Kings lose a close one

The RDC Queens still have their sights set on finishing first

Queens 3 Trojans 0

The RDC Queens still have their sights set on finishing first in the Alberta Colleges Women’s Volleyball League South Division, but the first thing they had to do was take care of the SAIT Trojans.

They did just that with an impressive 25-17, 25-15, 25-22 victory over the Trojans at RDC Saturday to complete a weekend sweep of their Calgary rival.

The Queens sit at 15-3 while the Trojans dropped to 13-5. To finish first the Queens need to win their final six matches including their final two games of the regular season against the Briercrest Clippers, who sit at 15-1.

Queens head coach Chris Wandler likes what he sees from his squad.

“We’re going in the right direction as the old saying goes,” he said. “We now have a week off for maintenance and recovery … we can work on a fine-tuning a few things, but we’re trending in the right direction.”

That was the case Saturday as the Queens controlled play against a very solid SAIT squad.

“The thing is we’ve been consistent, there’s no big ups and down,” added Wandler. “We talk about being consistent and taking care of the little things and the more you do that the more you play with confidence and it inspires people to play well.”

It was hard to pick a player of the match for the Queens as they got a solid effort from the starters to the bench.

Miranda Dawe was almost impossible to stop as she finished with 16 kills and only one error. She added 12 digs, a block and an ace. Setter Ashley Fehr was the player of the match, finishing with 37 assists and was outstanding on defence. Jade Van Dyke added nine kills and five digs, Megan Schmidt seven kills, McKenna Barthel six kills and five digs and Hanna Delemont five kills.

Lauren Marshall continues to impress at libero and finished with 14 digs and was solid on serve receive.

“Our passing centres around Lauren,” said Wandler. “We’ve given her more responsibility as her job is to take stress off others as she takes more space … it’s important your best passer is your libero and Lauren is that.”

Trojans 3 Kings 2

The Kings almost pulled off what would have been an amazing comeback before falling 26-28, 16-25, 25-21, 25-22, 11-15 to the Trojans.

The Kings went into the match with three regulars – all-star setter Luke Brisbane (quad), middle Adam Turlejski (back) and power hitter Matt Lofgren (ankle) – all on the bench.

“They (Trojans) are a very good team with all their horses and we’re a bit understaffed,” said Kings head coach Aaron Schulha. “We put together a lineup we’ve never tried before with Parker (Biletsky) on the right side and Regan (Fathers) back to the left and it was OK.

“Still think we shot ourselves in the foot at key times, it was the same as yesterday (a 3-2 loss at SAIT). But it was nice to get a chance to see what Parker and Tristan (Dexter) and those guys can do. I now have a better idea how they handle themselves and it will help later on if we need to go to the bench once we’re healthy.”

Dexter came on in the first set and was named the player of the match with a solid two-way effort. His passing was excellent and he finished with 12 kills, two aces, four digs and a block.

Fathers had 18 kills and four aces while Parker Biletsky had seven kills and five digs, Daimyn Biletsky five kills, Brian Grenier five kills and three digs and Ty Moorman four kills, two aces and a block.

One of the impassive parts of the game was the fight the Kings showed after falling down 2-0.

“We do have a lot of fight but it was still a matter of making smart decisions at key times,” said Schulha. ”But it’s all stuff we can look back at and talk about correcting.”

RDC doesn’t play again until Feb. 3 and 4 when they host Lethbridge. By then Schulha hopes to have Brisbane and Lofgren back.

“Adam is the iffy one as he still has numbness down his leg and until that starts to go away he won’t be training,” said the veteran coach. “As for Luke he’s about 50 to 75 per cent now and could have gone if needed but it’s important to have him 100 per cent healthy for the stretch run.”

The Kings sit at 14-4 with Medicine Hat at 13-3 and SAIT at 12-6.

Danny Rode is a retired Advocate reporter who can be reached at drode@bprda.wpengine.com.

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