The RDC Kings are simply too good for the majority of the teams in the Alberta Colleges Men’s Volleyball League to handle, even when they are at the top of their game.
But the University of Alberta, Augustana Vikings weren’t playing their best Saturday and were no match for the Kings, who recorded a 25-13, 25-21, 25-16 victory.
“They weren’t as crisp as they were two days ago (a 3-1 RDC win),” said Kings head coach Aaron Schulha, who felt his team wasn’t as sharp as they can be either.
“I know it’s tough to get motivated when the other team isn’t bringing much back, but our guys were prepared for a tough battle and it wasn’t there. Still that’s no excuse in terms of our passing, which wasn’t crisp, and we made some bone-head plays at the net.
“Still when the majority of our guys are clicking we’re a tough team to beat and when everyone is clicking it will be a challenge for anyone to beat us.”
The Kings are ranked No. 1 in Canada for a reason and their depth at all positions is superior to any team in the province.
“We do have a lot of weapons,” said Schulha. “But it’s something we’ve talked about in that we need everyone to be playing at a high level for the rest of the season and into the playoffs.
“The next three weeks will be a challenge as we’re playing quality opponents.”
RDC visits Briercrest Bible College next weekend, then clash with SAIT and Grant MacEwan University to finish the regular season. The Kings will host the ACAC playoffs with the top team, plus Briercrest going to the nationals which BBC is hosting in Moose Jaw.
Tim Finnigan led the Kings with 12 kills Saturday with Chris Jones adding nine kills, Chris Osborn eight kills and three stuff blocks and Braden O’Toole seven kills, an ace and two blocks. Setter Sam Brisbane was named the player of the game.
“Sam did a great job of spreading the ball around and he’s starting to get healthy (from an ankle injury) and is making the plays at the net, which is nice to see,” said Schulha, who was pleased with the way players came off the bench to make plays, such as Mike Goertz, who had a kill late in the final set.
“When Mike was in high school and in club ball he was a high volume guy, It’s tough for the first-year guys to be on the bench so it’s nice to be able to get them into the game and it’s especially good to see they’re ready and into the game when called upon. It’s good for them to come in and make a play and for the other guys to celebrate with them. It’s good for team chemistry.”
Andrew Kaliel and Cole McCartney led the Vikings with eight kills each.
Outside of the first serve there was never any doubt in the women’s match as the Queens rolled to a 25-12, 25-21, 25-16 victory over the Vikings.
“Maybe every match we should shank the first serve, it seems to get everyone relaxed and down to work,” said Queens head coach Talbot Walton, who liked the team’s mindset.
“We talked about being in the right mindset and doing our job, no matter what the score, even if it’s tied late, just keep playing.”
The Queens did that and as a result Walton was able to go to his bench early and often.
“It was our intent on Thursday (a 3-1 win over the Vikings) to get everyone in and get some of our starters some rest and the other athletes some experience,” he said.
“But we didn’t feel as comfortable as we did tonight. (Setter) Bronwyn (Hawkes) did a real good job of putting the ball in a good location and allowing our hitters to score at will. We also served the ball well and got them out of their system, which played well for us defensively.”
Walton even took both his star power hitters — Brooke Sutter and Amber Adolf — out in the first set
No matter who he inserted the Queens’ level of play didn’t drop.
“We were even keeled all night,” he said.
Hawkes was named the RDC player of the match as she chipped in with three kills and four digs besides her outstanding setting.
Miranda Dawe had eight kills, six digs and an ace, Karissa Kuhr seven kills, four digs and two blocks, Shelby Bramall six kills two blocks and four digs, Megan Schmidt five kills and four blocks and Leah Koot two kills, two aces and two digs in less than one set.
Laura Kvemshagen had eight kills, two aces and six digs for Camrose while Jill Alcorn had five kills, two aces and six digs.
The Queens sit first in the league with a 14-0 record with Grant MacEwan, who they face in their final two league matches, at 12-2.
The Kings are 12-0 with GMU at 11-1.