Kings 3 Trojans 2
The RDC Kings believe they’re one of the premier teams in the Alberta Colleges Men’s Volleyball League.
But if they want to play at that level with any consistency they need to cut down on their unforced errors.
That problem, combined with a spirited effort by the SAIT Trojans, forced the Kings to go the distance before recording a 20-25, 25-18, 19-25, 25-23, 15-13 victory over the Trojans before close to a full house at RDC Friday.
“We’ve been talking since before Christmas that we’re still making far too many unforced errors,” said Kings head coach Aaron Schulha.
“Adam (assistant coach Adam Scillery) counted about 46 errors in the match and the second set was by far our best with only three. So 43 over the other four won’t get it done most of the time.”
But it did Friday as the Kings were able to put together a solid block to pull out the final two sets.
“It was a really good match for the fans . . . but hard on my heart,” said Schulha, whose club was coming off two losses to the Kodiaks in Lethbridge last weekend.
“Lethbridge didn’t go as well as we would have liked, so it was nice to come back and get a good push from them and be able to pull it out. That’s got to bode well for us going forward.”
The Kings didn’t look sharp right off the bat while the Trojans ran a diversified offence.
“We had a good week of practice and I don’t think we were looking back at Lethbridge,” continued Schulha.
“They played well, but we were able to make a few adjustments, moving Quentin (Schmidt) over to the right side, which paid dividends, and also David (King) and Jordon (Gardiner) came off the bench and did a good job in terms of solidifying things.”
But Schulha would like to see some of his veterans step up in terms of consistency.
“It’s still a revolving door and it’s nice to be able to start different guys, but it’s also disconcerting coming into a weekend and not knowing what I’m going to get from guys, especially in January. We need to clean it up, so some of the guys can stay on the floor.”
What the Kings did do down the stretch was find a way to force the Trojans to be a bit predictable in terms of their offence. What they did do was consistently run their attack through power hitter and former King Darcee Froese.
“Darcee did a great job for them,” said Schulha.
“He was a leader for us last season although he didn’t get the volume (of sets) because of Taylor (Hunt). But he’s their go-to guy, but they were getting a bit predictable as we were able to serve a little tougher and able to kick our middles out to where Darcee was. Hopefully tomorrow (tonight at SAIT) we’ll make those adjustments sooner.”
Froese finished with 23 kills and eight digs while Red Deer native Tim Finnigan had eight kills, two stuff blocks and 19 digs.
Schmidt was the Kings player of the match with 16 kills, three blocks and nine digs while Tucker Leinweber had 16 kills, two blocks and 11 digs. Boston Maris had 10 kills and two blocks while Dennis Wierenga had six kills, King five kills, two blocks and seven digs.
Queens 3 Trojans 0
The Queens, who struggled to beat Lethbridge 3-2 twice, looked as if they were finding their stride as they beat the Trojans 25-15, 25-8, 25-14.
“I’m really happy with the way we played,” said Queens head coach Talbot Walton. “We were able to implement some things earlier this week in terms of our serve and serve receive and they have really taken to it.”
Walton felt the Queens serve receive was a problem that needed to be fixed for the team to take the next step in their development.
“At times a coach says the same thing different ways until he gets the right response,” Walton said. “We found something they really buy into and based on that we made SAIT play out of their natural system for large parts of the match, which made the game easier for us.”
The Queens dominated the statistics with Brooke Sutter finishing with 11 kills and four digs. Jaclyn Neufeld had seven kills while Leanne Price had five kills, two blocks and four digs. Danielle Newton also had five kills and two blocks while Megan Brouwer and Makenzie Quinn had 13 digs each.
Setter Kristen Sorensen was player of the match as she was consistent in moving the ball and finding the open hitter. She also had three kills, two aces, a block and nine digs.
“We were able to control the ball and keep SAIT on their heels and put the ball in spots where Sorney was able to take it and make really good decisions,” said Walton. “She moved the ball around and we were able to find the gaps.”