It was an easy decision for Parker Maris.
Despite getting an opportunity to play with his brother Jackson with the University of Calgary Dinos, Parker knew he wanted to follow in the footsteps of his two older brothers and spend a season with the RDC Kings volleyball squad.
“I had a chance a while ago to watch (the Kings) and see this environment and I always wanted to play here,” said the first-year libero from Edson. “It’s so exciting here . . . the fans and atmosphere, is almost indescribable, an awesome experience.
“I wanted to be part of the program and when I got the e-mail (from head coach Aaron Schulha) I remember exactly where I was. I was so pumped to be where my brothers played.”
Middle blocker Boston Maris led the way before Jackson came on board.
“The two Maris boys were two great teammates and talented kids and the way they talked about their little brother made it an easy decision for us to go after him,” said Schulha. “He had an option to go to the U of C and play with his brother, but we were able to persuade him to follow in his brother’s footsteps and it’s been good for both of us.”
His brothers weren’t the first member of the family to attend RDC, according to Parker.
“My mother (Linda) was here first and she wanted us to go here,” he said.
The fact the Kings are one of the premier teams in the country made the decision that much easier for Maris.
“Definitely,” he said. “The excitement and pressure surrounding the team is awesome and we have a great coaching staff.”
When the latest rankings came out Tuesday, the Kings are ranked No. 1 for the third straight week.
“With the players around me you understand why it’s so highly rated. There is so much talent with the veterans and the rookies.”
A number of rookies played with Maris with the Northern Alberta Volleyball Club in Edmonton, which is one of the premier ranked programs in the nation.
“It was a winning program, but this program and level of ball is definitely a step up,” said the five-foot-10 Maris, who started playing volleyball in Grade 5.
Although he’s as good a libero as there is in the Alberta Colleges Men’s Volleyball League, like any rookie he had a slight learning curve.
“Most rookies don’t get better right away, in fact they get worse as they have so much to take in, then they go up and up” said Schulha. “Parker is now beyond the learning stage and has done a great job.”
He will likely move to the Dinos next season.
“I’m excited about playing with my brother, but then I also don’t want this year to end,” he said.
RDC will finish their pre-Christmas schedule Nov. 29-30 at Lakeland College. The Queens are also undefeated and ranked No. 5 in Canada.
l The basketball Kings, 7-0, moved up into the second place in the national ranking, just behind Sheridan College of Oakville, Ont. The Queens are 5-2 but will have a tough test this week as they face the University of Alberta, Augustana, who are ranked No. 4 in Canada. The teams meet Friday at RDC with the women tipping off at 6 p.m. and the men to follow.
RDC will finish their first-half schedule Nov., 29-30, hosting Medicine Hat.
l The host Queens face Grant MacEwan in an home-and-home series — Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Arena and Friday in Edmonton.
l The hockey Kings, who are second in the ACAC with a 10-4 record, face Portage College Friday at 7:15p.m. at the Penhold Regional Multiplex and Saturday in Lac La Biche.
l The RDC curling teams see their first action of the season, Friday-Sunday in Camrose.
l Volleyball dominated the Boston Pizza RDC athlete of the week voting.
Power hitter Chris Jones took the men’s award with right side Karissa Kuhr receiving top female honours.
Jones was outstanding both offensively and defensively as the Kings beat Keyano 3-0 twice last weekend.
Kuhr led the Queens in both matches against Keyano, winning 3-2 and 3-0, finishing with 24 kills. two aces, 16 digs and two stuff blocks.
Basketball Queens guard Sarah Williamson and Kings forward Cay Crellin received honourable mention.
The basketball Kings received the Breathing Room team of the week award.