With two volleyball teams that spent the year at the top of the Alberta Colleges Athletic Association standings, the post-season awards have already started to trickle in.
Kings setter Luke Brisbane was named men’s player of the year as well as to the South All-Conference team where he was joined by outside hitter Tim Finnigan and libero Patrick MacInyre.
“It’s obviously a huge honour, I don’t think I’d be in this situation if Tim had a full season, I think quite clearly he’s our leader,” said Brisbane.
Due to an early season injury to incumbent starting setter Tegan McGraw, the rookie from Melbourne, Australia was thrust into action and was never taken out again.
Brisbane finished the season with a South Division high 844 assists, placing him second in the division in assists per set with 9.0, behind only Marcus Biesheuvel (9.8) from the Lethbridge College Kodiaks.
But he is more than just a distributor of the ball, Brisbane is an offensive weapon with 37 kills and 26 service aces on the season while also being tough defensively with 40 blocks and 155 digs — second in both categories on the Kings.
“I think he’s just starting to figure out how good he can be,” said Kings head coach Aaron Schulha. “He doesn’t seem to understand the gravity of certain situations, which is great, you want guys to not feel that pressure and to thrive under it. He’s been impressive for us all year, played every single point of every match since that first week.”
Brisbane said he learned a lot this year from watching his oft injured captain Finnigan who played through pain and was a constant source of encouragement on the court and from the sidelines.
“He just knows how you should react in certain situations, he’s really confident as a result of knowing how he should act and with his confidence he does act and play really well in clutch moments,” said Brisbane. “When we’re down we just get Tim going and it works out for us. He’s a great player and the best captain I’ve ever played with.”
On the women’s side, Queens power Miranda Dawe, setter Bronwyn Hawkes, libero Madelyn Quinn and middle Alex Donaghy were all named to the South All-Conference team.
“They are some of the best players in the conference for sure, not just on one night but throughout the season,” said Queens head coach Talbot Walton, referencing their provincial championship won on Saturday in Olds.
“Definitely their consistency every day at a high level of play, I think was a good representation for them. It’s always nice for those kids who have those opportunities and take advantage of them and play their best every night to get recognized.”