For the second consecutive weekend, the RDC Kings summoned some fifth-set magic.
Last Saturday the Kings needed five sets to top the Olds College Broncos in Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference volleyball play.
They needed the same a week later against a scrappy Briercrest College Clippers squad.
It was far from the perfect match, but the Kings turned it on when it counted and picked up the five-set victory (23-25, 25-17, 25-23, 20-25, 15-9).
“They’re a much better team than below .500 and they are fighting for their playoff lives,” said Kings head coach Aaron Schulha about the Clippers.
“We knew it would be tough. I thought they did a way better job of receiving the ball and putting the pressure on their serve, which put us in trouble… they did a better job of service pressure and extending rallies on us. I thought at times as we were extending rallies, we would make errors late.”
The win was the 11th straight this season for the Kings and sixth in a row to start 2019.
After missing a few opportunities to close out the match Saturday before the fifth, the Kings jumped out to an 8-2 lead in the final set and closed the door on the Clippers.
“Win a five-setter and perform that way in the fifth, is nice. In all honesty, we could have won it in three,” Schulha said.
“There’s no reason we shouldn’t have won the first. Win the second and third and you’re out of here pretty quick. Happy with the fifth and parts of the other piece.”
Fourth-year outside hitter Ben Holmes was consistent for the home side in the win, with 17 kills and only seven errors in five sets along with seven digs. He earned player of the game honours for his efforts.
Regan Fathers tallied a game-high 27 kills but had six service errors in the match and Schulha hopes he can be a bit more steady going forward. Although, the head coach noted that his connection with setter Tom Wass is getting much better. Wass had a massive afternoon with 55 assists in the victory.
“Tom is really starting to dial some things in. A few weak moments here and there but to put up those kind of assist numbers on the weekend is pretty impressive,” Schulha added.
“It means he’s thinking the game at a high level and he’s also sharing the ball quite a bit. Regan (Fathers) put up his numbers, but Holmes had a great match and we needed that.”
The Kings travel to Medicine Hat for a pair of road games next weekend and play five of their final six games away from the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre.