Kings 3 Clippers 1
The Briercrest Bible College Clippers came into the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference men’s volleyball championships with nothing to lose.
As hosts of the Canadian championships they were already in the nationals, allowing them to take a go-all-out attitude as they faced the top-ranked RDC Kings in the opening round of the ACAC finals.
But in the end the Kings did what they had to to record a 25-22, 24-26, 25-17, 25-18 victory before a full house at RDC Friday.
“They’re a good team and very scrappy,” said Kings middle blocker Chris Osborn. “They’re used to a loud environment and they handled the pressure well. I was happy with the way we were able to come through at the end and seal the deal.”
The Kings controlled play most of the first set, although the Clippers did make a late run to narrow the gap. The Saskatchewan squad took the momentum into the second set and as the Kings consistently missed serves — seven overall — the Clippers didn’t fade when RDC tied the game at 24.
“We’ve been working hard and the last time we played the Kings at home we played them tough (a 3-2 loss), so we felt if we served and passed well we could compete,” said Clippers head coach Nigel Mullan. “We did that in the second set, but overall we weren’t consistent enough. Red Deer played well. They’re a good fundamental team and Tim (Finnigan) was clutch for them. When they needed him he came through. It’s tough to find a way to slow him down.”
Finnigan dominated the third and fourth sets and finished with 20 kills, seven digs and four aces. Braden O’Toole added 13 kills, an ace and three digs while Chris Jones and Justin Lukacs added seven kills each and Osborn four kills, two aces and three stuff blocks. Josh Senneker had 14 kills and seven digs for the Clippers while Jachin Karg added 13 kills.
“They’re not a No. 8 seed,” said Kings head coach Aaron Schulha. “We knew they’d come in an battle the hell out of us. They had nothing to lose and were going after their serves.
“In the end it was good for us, it was something we needed. We knew it would be a battle and we needed a guy like Tim to take over the match by himself. He was awesome the last two sets.”
Osborn was equally as solid, although he didn’t get the kills.
“But he opened things up for Jones and Tim. As well Braden’s serving took us on a run late. It was a strong effort from everyone in a real tough quarter-final.”
Osborn feels the team can play better.
“Not everything was perfect, but it was a good match for us to play. When the game plan isn’t going right everyone has to shoulder the responsibility and get it done.”
While the Kings felt they gained something by the tough test, so did the Clippers.
“We’ve been inconsistent this season, but we’re trying to get ready for the nationals,” said Mullan. “We don’t want to just be the host we want to compete. This was another learning moment for us.”
The Kings face the University of Alberta, Augustana Vikings in the semifinals today at 8 p.m. The Vikings downed the Medicine Hat Rattlers 25-18, 25-17, 27-29, 25-17.
Luke Ryan had 11 kills for the Vikings with Dylan Neufeld collecting 10 for the Rattlers.
The Grant MacEwan University Griffins and the SAIT Trojans clash in the 6 p.m. semifinal.
The Griffins downed the NAIT Ooks 25-21, 25-17, 25-19 as Zach Brown and Marcus Ernewein had 10 kills each. Jordan Teliske had eight for the Ooks.
SAIT stopped the Grande Prairie Wolves 25-21, 25-23, 25-17 with Lucas Rauwerda finishing with 14 kills and Lachie Pollock 10. Devon Goodvin had 10 kills for the Wolves.
Action begins today with Grande Prairie facing NAIT at 1 p.m. with BBC and the Rattlers clashing at 3 p.m.
On Sunday the consolation final goes at 11 a.m. with the bronze medal match at 1 p.m. and the final at 3:30 p.m.
Queens 3 Rustlers 0
The top-seeded RDC Queens took a step toward a berth in the national finals with a 25-20, 25-16, 25-15 victory over the Lakeland Rustlers in the women’s ACAC finals in Grande Prairie Friday.
The Queens face Briercrest today at 6 p.m. with the winner not only going for gold, but earning a berth at the Canadians.
“Lakeland is a good team all-around with a very good right side hitter, but we put together a game plan to try to handle her as best we could and it was evident from the results we did a good job,” said Queens head coach Talbot Walton. “It was a good match for everyone as we did exactly what we planned and we didn’t use any extra effort and will be fresh for Briercrest.”
Amber Adolf, who was named an All-Canadian Thursday, was the Queens player of the match with 12 kills, 12 digs and an ace. Brooke Sutter had 12 kills, four digs and a stuff block while Karissa Kuhr added 10 kills. Maddi Quinn had 18 digs and setter Bronwyn Hawkes 23 assists.
The Clippers advanced with a 27-25, 25-22, 25-22 victory over The King’s University College.
On the other side, two of the premier teams in the conference — GMU and Grande Prairie — will clash in the 8 p.m. semifinal.
The Wolves downed the Olds Broncos 25-15, 25-12, 25-12 while the Griffins stopped NAIT 25-15, 25-18, 25-15,
Mikaela Pusher had eight kills and Shael Bourne 11 digs for Olds.