Kings 3 Titans 2
LONDON, Ont. – There was nothing unlucky about the number 13 for the RDC Kings.
The Kings captured their 13th Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association men’s volleyball championship late Saturday evening with a heart-stopping 25-21, 25-18, 24-26, 24-26, 15-12 victory over the Limoilou Titans of Quebec City.
The Kings, who have won three of the last four national titles, looked as if they would sweep the Titans, similar to last year’s final. But the Quebec squad, who have 10 national titles to their credit, second only to RDC, wouldn’t go down without a fight.
In fact the Kings led 24-20 in the third set and were ahead late in the fourth.
“That’s also the way we seem to like to do things … make it hard on ourselves,” said a relieved RDC Kings head coach Aaron Schulha following the match. “But Limoilou played at a high level in that third and fourth sets and despite being down they were able to stay loose.
“They are well coached and you knew they wouldn’t just lie down.”
But to the Kings credit they didn’t panic, even after the Titans came from behind to win the third and fourth sets.
The Kings jumped out to an 8-3 lead in the fifth set, only to see the Titans once again come back to within two points. However, the Kings made few errors in the set and weren’t about to be denied.
“We did a good job of weathering the storm and we got a solid effort from everyone on the court,” said Schulha. “It’s always rewarding winning this, but I feel maybe this year it’s even more so.
“This year we had to go through some adversity because of injuries and some tough losses but no one got down. They found a way to stick together and the last month, month-and-a-half they were strong mentality. We were fantastic of late and that made our jobs as coaches easier.”
The RDC stars came through as expected with right side Regan Fathers being named the tournament MVP, setter Luke Brisbane and middle Ty Moorman named to the first all-star team and power Matt Lofgren to the second.
“I was happy to see Matt on the second team. He sometimes gets overlooked and he had a real solid tournament, defensively and at the net,” said Schulha. “As well Luke and Ty had outstanding tournaments and Regan deserved the MVP.
“As well Brian (Grenier) had his best match of the season in that final. He was outstanding.”
Schulha also mentioned middle Adam Turlejski and libero Michael Sunmer for their solid play.
Schulha indicated he’ll take a week off to “decompress” and then start working full time on next season.
“I was asked recently if it was tough on the coaches and players to go into every season expecting to go to the championship,” said Schulha. “But that’s what we’re all about. It doesn’t bother us … we have a great tradition. Look at the banners on the wall and you see we’re part of something special.”
Schulha has already received some commitments for next season and expects a solid core to return.
“We will know in a week or so for sure on who will be back,” he said.
Fathers led the Kings in the final with 28 kills, two aces, nine digs and two blocks while Grenier had 11 kills and seven digs, Moorman had 10 kills, two digs and a block, Turlejski eight kills, two aces and two blocks, Lofgren six kills, six digs and two blocks and Brisbane 56 assists, nine digs, a block and a kill.
Medicine Hat won bronze with a thrilling 25-20, 22-25, 23-25, 25-23, 21-19 victory over the host Fanshawe Falcons.
Earlier MHC downed Vancouver Island University of Nanaimo 3-0 and Fanshawe stopped Camosun of Victoria 3-0.
On the women’s side, the Lakeland Rustlers of Lloydminster made it a clean sweep for the ACAC by defeating the host Camosun Chargers 25-20, 25-20, 17-25, 26-24 to win gold.
VIU stopped Grande Prairie 22-25, 25-18, 25-20, 25-11 in the bronze medal game.
Danny Rode is a retired Advocate reporter who can be reached at email@example.com.