Kings 3 Rattlers 0
It didn’t take the RDC Kings long to get back on track.
Less than 24 hours after one of their more disappointing efforts of the Alberta Colleges Men’s Volleyball League season, when they dropped a 3-2 decision to the Medicine Hat Rattlers, the Kings were on top of their game beating the Rattlers 25-18, 25-21, 25-20 at RDC Saturday afternoon.
“We had a very serious talk after last night’s match and the guys who needed to perform better did and we made some smart choices as a group,” said Kings head coach Aaron Schulha, who also inserted veteran Sean Tuff back into the middle.
“Having a familiar face back in there helped our mind set a little,” added Schulha, who’s still missing middle Boston Maris (ankle). “We didn’t want to use him, but he said his knee felt alright.”
Tuff started a bit slow, but finished with five kills and two aces.
“It helped that he’s a bit more of an offensive threat and it opened things for our outside hitters,” added Schulha. “As well our left side hitters were much better today.”
Darcee Froese and Quentin Schmidt both turned in solid games, taking some of the pressure off right side Taylor Hunt.
Schmidt was selected the RDC player of the match, finishing with 10 kills, a stuff block and four digs. Froese had 10 kills, two aces, a block and three digs.
“We were a bit concerned about Darcee’s shoulder, but he felt good and Quentin performed the way he should,” said Schulha. “The player of the game could have went to either one, but that’s what we expect from them. It made it easier on Taylor as the other team couldn’t key on him.”
Hunt finished with 15 kills, two aces, a block and two digs and played with extra fire after some verbal sparring with the Rattlers following Friday’s match.
“He’s very intense and has a passion for the game,” added Schulha. “He was upset after last night and he had that look about him today that we knew we’d get the best out of him. There were times when he could have said something through the net, but he held his tongue, which we expected. When he plays under control like that and with that same intensity, he’s a really tough guy to control.”
This weekend’s two-match set was similar to the first two matches of the season when the Kings, 10-2, lost to Lethbridge, then came back to win the second day.
“Today was much better than what we did against Lethbridge,” explained Schulha. “Today we were much better. I don’t believe they (Rattlers) were as crisp as they were yesterday, but part of that had to do with us. We struggled with way too many service errors (18), but overall our offensive efficiency was much] better.”
Evan Ericson led the Rattlers with nine kills, an ace and two digs.
Queens 3 Rattlers 2
The Queens looked as if they were going to roll over the Rattlers for the second straight day, but they ran into a road block and were fortunate to come out on the right end of a 25-16, 25-19, 25-27, 17-25, 15-12 decision.
The Queens were at match point twice in the third set before unforced errors caught up to them.
“It was indicative of that type of match where we beat the other team handily in the first two sets, then they play a bit better and we make a few mistakes and lose by two which gave them a lot of momentum in that fourth set and we were off our game,” said Queens head coach Talbot Walton.
The Queens did little right in the fourth set, giving the Rattlers 14 of their 27 points.
“Between the fourth and fifth sets we talked about settling down, finding our tempo and doing the things we do well. We said if we do those well they’ll have to do them better and they couldn’t.”
The Queens also went back to spreading the ball around and their middles were involved as Mandy Carroll had two of her four blocks in the final set and Danielle Newton had one of her three blocks. The middles didn’t have any kills in the final set, but were set more, which opened up the outside.
“In the fourth set we didn’t pass well enough to effectively run a middle attack,” said Walton. “We also started solely relying on the outside hitters and trying to force balls into spots where they wouldn’t go.”
Still the Queens finished with a weekend sweep of the Rattlers, who came into the weekend with a 6-6 record while RDC sat at 5-5.
“I was a bit worried as they’re a good team and well coached and have two excellent outside hitters, which in the past has given us problems,” said Walton. “But the changes we’ve made seem to be paying off. There’s still some kinks to work out, but for the most part we controlled the matches when we had to.”
Jaclyn Neufeld had 16 kills, five stuff blocks, an ace and five digs for RDC while Robyn Denney, who was the player of the match, had 13 kills, four aces, three blocks and 2 digs. Newton added eight kills, Carroll had seven kills and Tarah Truant 19 digs.
Megan Nagy had 22 kills and 12 digs and Kristen Moncks 24 digs for MHC.
Up next the RDC squads face The King’s University College of Edmonton in a home-and-home set — Friday in Edmonton and Saturday at RDC.