Array

Array

Kings hold court to win ACAC volleyball championship

The RDC Kings weren’t happy with the way last season ended, losing in the national championship gold medal game. As a result they went into this season’s Alberta Colleges Men’s Volleyball League with one goal in mind — win the ACAC and return to the Nationals.

The RDC Kings weren’t happy with the way last season ended, losing in the national championship gold medal game.

As a result they went into this season’s Alberta Colleges Men’s Volleyball League with one goal in mind — win the ACAC and return to the Nationals.

They took the first step with a 25-22, 25-21, 26-24 victory over the Grant MacEwan University Griffins in the ACAC final before an overflow crowd at RDC Sunday afternoon.

While the Kings swept the final, it was anything but easy.

“We knew they’d battle the heck out of us,” said Kings head coach Aaron Schulha. “They’ve come a long way since the beginning of the season. Brad (Poplawski) did a great job with that group and to see guys like Mark Ritter, who was with us last year, playing that wel,l they did some good things.

“The game wasn’t easy, in fact none of the three (matches) were, which was what we needed to put us in the right frame of mind for two weeks from now.”

The Kings will join host Briercrest Bible College Clippers at the national finals, March 6-8 in Moose Jaw.

The Kings went into the championships as the No. 1 ranked team in the country with GMU second. It was disappointing in that only one of the two could advance to the Canadians because the Clippers are hosting.

“It’s one of those things we knew going in,” said Poplawski. “It doesn’t take the sting out of the loss . . . it’s a disappointing end to the season.”

Poplawski gave credit to the Kings and felt they were the better team.

“They passed better than we did and they’re a big, physical team and we didn’t serve well enough to take them out of their system. They’re relentless and keep coming at you and coming at you. They’re also a veteran group that knows how to play and make life difficult.”

The Griffins managed several mini-runs, but every time they started to gain some momentum, the Kings were able to regain control, led by setter and tournament MVP Sam Brisbane.

“They certainly pushed us and we felt the pressure, but we tried to play five points at a time and take it bit-by-bit,” said Brisbane. “I have a lot of talent around me and anyone can get hot and dominate a game . . . other teams have to respect everyone. Still it wasn’t easy winning a championship, we had to work hard to get here.”

Brisbane, a native of Australia, is in his second season with the Kings and will transfer to Mount Royal University next season. His brother will join the Kings.

“When I came here I didn’t know anything about the competition, but I couldn’t be happier. I made the right choice.”

The match had a little bit of everything including some controversy when the Griffins received two red cards in the third set, which results in points for RDC, and Poplawski was awarded a yellow-red card combination, which sent him off the court into what is called the penalty box where he sat for the remainder of the match.

“I’ve never seen that in volleyball,” said Poplawski on the number of red cards for what was considered unsportsmanlike conduct. “When a man I really look up to like Mr. Keith Hansen (RDC director of athletics and the winningest coach in CCAA men’s volleyball history) said it surprised him it means a lot to me. But it doesn’t take the sting out of it.”

Still his squad never gave up and tied the game at 23=23 and 24-24.

“The guys worked hard and we have some good pieces heading into next year (their first in the CIS),” said Poplawski. “It will be a big jump, but basically we played a CIS team today and it showed us where we need to improve. We do have some important pieces returning and will keep adding to them.”

The Kings had all their important pieces back from last season with middle Justin Lukacs and libero Parker Maris the only new faces to the starting lineup.

“This is a special year,” said Schulha. “I was really impressed with this group of guys. They all came back knowing what they wanted to accomplish and went after it. It was a disappointing finish at the nationals and it’s a long way back, but we put ourselves into the position we wanted.”

Chris Osborn had a strong final with 10 kills and two stuff blocks while Tim Finnigan and Braden O’Toole, both all-stars, added eight kills each. Brisbane had two kills and 10 digs. All-star Marcus Ernewein had 15 kills and all-star Zach Brown 12 for the Griffins.

The Kings reached the final with a 25-21, 25-21, 25-18 win over the University of Alberta, Augustana Vikings Saturday.

O’Toole had 15 kills, two aces and three blocks while Finnigan added seven kills and Osborn and Lukacs six each.

The Griffins downed the SAIT Trojans 25-21, 25-20, 23-25, 25-14 in the other semifinal.

SAIT went on to stop the Vikings 25-20, 25-22, 25-17 to finish third. Briercrest took the consolation title with a 25-22, 25-15, 21-25, 25-21 win over Grande Prairie.

Lachie Pollock of SAIT and Luke Ryan of Camrose were also all-stars.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Members of the Red Deer RCMP downtown patrol monitor for drug activity and property crimes. (Advocate file photo).
Two peace officers are training to join Red Deer’s downtown police patrol unit

This “integrated” unit will be the first in Alberta

Students and staff at Gateway Christian School wore pink Wednesday in support of Pink Shirt Day, a worldwide anti-bullying initiative that was started in 2007. (Photo courtesy of Red Deer Public Schools)
Students celebrate Pink Shirt Day

All across the province, Albertans wore pink Wednesday to celebrate Pink Shirt… Continue reading

File photo
Another new high: Red Deer hits 574 active COVID-19 cases

Province reports 13 new COVID-19 deaths, 430 new cases

A homeless shelter was promised Red Deer to help the city deal with downtown issues. The city and province finally released a signed agreement on what the facility will offer, a year after a $7 million commitment was made for the project by the province. (Advocate file photo).
City and province take next step in bringing a 24/7 shelter to Red Deer

It will include a detox and counselling services

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. A new survey says eroding trust in scientists, CEOs and journalists could hamper the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
9 Red Deer pharmacies set to offer COVID-19 vaccine to seniors next week

Seniors in Red Deer and Central Alberta will have more access to… Continue reading

Meteor spotted over Edmonton, Alta., on Feb. 22, 2021 by several, who took to social media to share their surveillance camera captures. (@KixxAxe/Twitter)
VIDEO: Fireball meteor streaks across sky, spotted by early-morning risers in Alberta, B.C.

Videos of the quick streak of light flashing across the sky before 6:30 a.m. MST

Email editor@interior-news.com
Letter: Read up on tax report

The Advocate article published Feb. 20 about the Canadian Taxpayers Federation slamming… Continue reading

Opinion
Opinion: When Kenney promises no tax hike, does he mean it?

Premier Jason Kenney is trying to assure Albertans that there won’t be… Continue reading

kkk
Budget opinion: Cutting advanced education funding will stunt region growth

The Alberta budget expected to be tabled this week follows a year… Continue reading

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney makes his way to the chamber in Edmonton on Friday, March 20, 2020. Kenney says a recent bump in energy prices in the third quarter of the budget is helping the bottom line as his government prepares to introduce its 2021-22 budget. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Higher oil prices boosting Alberta’s bottom line as budget looms Thursday: Kenney

EDMONTON — Premier Jason Kenney says a recent bump in energy prices… Continue reading

Montreal Canadiens head coach Claude Julien gives instructions during practice in Brossard, Que., Tuesday, July 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
CP NewsAlert: Montreal Canadiens fire head coach Claude Julien

Assistant coach appointed interim head coach

(Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
NFB hiring new execs to lead anti-racist practices, forge ties with Indigenous groups

TORONTO — The National Film Board of Canada is creating two key… Continue reading

The cast of “Schitt’s Creek” pose for a photo after winning the Award for Best Comedy Series at the Canadian Screen Awards in Toronto on March 31, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
‘Schitt’s Creek’ earns third consecutive ensemble win at ACTRA Toronto Awards

Tamara Podemski won outstanding performance by a female on ‘Coroner’

Most Read