Kings 3 Vikings 2
It’s a bad habit to get into and one RDC Kings head coach Aaron Schulha knows they’ll have to eliminate if they want to remain the top team in the Alberta Colleges Men’s Volleyball League.
For the second time this season the Kings dropped the first two sets of their best-of-five match before rallying to pull out a victory.
Much like their meeting with The Kings University College, the Kings weren’t sharp early on and fell behind the University of Alberta, Augustana Vikings before winning 18-25, 22-25, 25-17, 25-16, 15-10 before a near capacity crowd at RDC Saturday.
“It was nice to see us battle back, but you can’t be satisfied with that happening twice in our gym,” said Schulha. “The last three sets I consider Kings volleyball . . . the first two I don’t know what happened, especially after how hard they pushed us last night (a 3-2 win Friday). There was no reason to come out flat like that. We’ll address that in practice this week.”
While the Kings made a number of mistakes and did little at the net in terms of blocking, the Vikings were razor sharp in the first two sets. Except for a few serve errors in the first set, they did everything right.
“They were very good,” said Schulha. “They went after their serves while we were light on our serves and allowed them to do a little too much offensively. But they’re a good team and well coached. Greg Ryan won a national championship at the CIS level and he’ll continue to work with them. They’ll be a scary team come February.”
After the second set, their worst of the season, Schulha had a little talk with his squad and they looked like a different team once they got the edge in the third.
“It was an interesting conversation and we put our starters back in to see what they could do. They still pushed us a little and when it was 8-5 it didn’t look good, but we started to show what we can do.”
The Kings, who are 8-0, eventually showed why they’re the second ranked team in the country. They started to dominate play at the net as they accumulated 12 blocks over the last three sets after none in the first two.
They were led by middle blocker Jordan Gardiner, who had 10 kills, four blocks and five digs, and was named player of the match.
“That was something we needed from him,” said Schulha. “He needed a bit of a kick in the butt after the second set as he normally is more offensive than that and once his offence got going that kicked started his defence. That was what we needed and the rest of the guys came along.”
Chris Osborn picked up 11 of his 15 kills and two blocks in the last three games. Tim Finnigan added 15 kills, two blocks and nine digs while Chris Jones had seven kills, a block and nine digs. Trent Schmidt added two blocks and Pat McIntyre 18 digs.
Red Deer native Mark Willms led Camrose with 14 kills, three blocks and 11 digs while Nazheef Gangji had 10 kills and 13 digs. Nathan Lehman of Penhold added eight kills.
Queens 3 Vikings 0
Queens head coach Talbot Walton left several of his starters on the bench and they still rolled to a 25-19, 25-19, 25-13 victory over the Vikings to win their sixth straight match and sit at 6-2.
“Our message to the players is to make sure we take something out of every weekend we play,” said Walton. “Tonight it was to have some of our other athletes on the floor, to get some reps in to show what they’re able to do. So we can see what their numbers are like.
“Augustana is a strong enough team that when we put some of the other group in they will block and hit well enough that it gives us a sense of what the capabilities of our other hitters and passers are.”
One such player was right side Alexis West, who was the player of the match, with nine kills, two aces, a block and six digs.
“She’s steady,” said Walton. “She’s not the flashiest player, but you give the ball to her in a good spot and she’ll get the kill. She serves a heavy ball and does a good job at the net blocking. It’s nice to have that style of player to go to when she’s needed.”
Amber Adolf continued her hot play as she had 13 kills, an ace, two blocks and five digs. Sidney Ponto had two aces, two kills and 10 digs and Maddi Quinn 12 digs. Megan Schmidt, who played her first two matches of the season during the weekend, had two kills and three aces and setter Kirsten Sorensen three blocks and four digs.
RDC faces NAIT in a home-and-home series this weekend — Friday at RDC and Saturday in Edmonton.
Kings 99 Vikings 75
Kings head coach Clayton Pottinger was unable to attend the game in Camrose Saturday, but watched it online and liked what he saw.
The Kings rolled over the Vikings 99-75 in a place that’s not always that easy to win at.
“The coaching staff did an excellent job and we got a good effort from everyone,” said Pottinger, who had to sit out one game after being ejected in Grande Prairie.
Robert Pierce showed why he’s one of the elite players in the conference with 23 points and 19 rebounds while Sam Lolik added 14 points and nine boards and was six-for-six from the floor. Joel Carroll looks to be near 100 per cent from his ankle injury and had 23 points and seven rebounds.
Vikings 100 Queens 36
The Queens started out strong against the fourth ranked team in the country, trailing 22-17 after the first quarter.
“But we didn’t shoot well the rest of the way and had far too many turnovers with 47,” said Queens head coach Mike Woollard, who was without guard Amrei Bondzio.
Because of the turnovers, and strong inside play, the Vikings finished with 82 shots to just 45 for RDC,
Melissa Woolley led RDC with eight points and six steals.
RDC meets SAIT Thursday in Calgary and Saturday at home.