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Kings see highs and lows from Challenge Cup

If never hurts for a team to learn a lesson now and then, especially when it’s in the preseason. The RDC Kings got exactly that as they closed out the Challenge Cup invitational men’s volleyball tournament with a 22-25, 22-25, 25-19, 25-14, 10-15 loss to Douglas College Royals at RDC Saturday evening.

If never hurts for a team to learn a lesson now and then, especially when it’s in the preseason.

The RDC Kings got exactly that as they closed out the Challenge Cup invitational men’s volleyball tournament with a 22-25, 22-25, 25-19, 25-14, 10-15 loss to Douglas College Royals at RDC Saturday evening.

The Kings, who beat Vancouver Island University Mariners 25-10, 25-18, 25-23 Saturday afternoon, finished the eight-team ACAC vs. PacWest tournament with a 3-1 record and helped the ACAC win the title 10-6.

But while Kings head coach Aaron Schulha was pleased with the performance against VIU he was anything but against Douglas.

“That was not nearly good enough,” he said. “We played the way we should for a set and a half, which is simply not good enough against a good team.”

The Royals started the tournament by losing 3-0 to both Medicine Hat and Briercrest, but beat SAIT 3-1 and RDC on Saturday. They looked like they won the Canadian title with their victory over the highly-ranked Kings.

“They were motivated,” said Schulha.

“They started off poorly, then beat SAIT in four games and wanted to even their record. They were motivated and you can’t blame them. I’m not sure if we were a bit tired, or just taking them lightly, but there was no excuse for the way we played.

“But there’s a lot of time left in the season to get better and we’ll begin next Monday,” he said. “This is a motivator for us and we’ll fix it.”

Still Schulha wanted to finish the tournament on a high.

“What sucks is that it was the final game and on Saturday night, but in the grand scheme of things this could be a positive.”

Chris Osborn led the Kings with 13 kills and four stuff blocks while Tim Finnigan added 13 kills and two blocks, Chris Jones 10 kills, two aces and a block and Braden O’Toole nine kills, two aces and a block.

While the veterans played the majority of the time against Douglas, Schulha used a number of his newcomers against VIU.

“I liked what I saw from the new guys against Vancouver Island, and that’s what we expect from them,” said Schulha. ‘That’s a key as we want some of our best competition in practice where the guys battle each other so that when they go into a match it’s enjoyable because they’ve been there already.”

Jonah Gilham had six kills and four blocks against VIU with Mike Goertz adding six kills and an ace. Osborn, who came on when Eric Hart injured his ankle in the first set, had four kills and two blocks.

Hart’s injury was the only negative in the match.

“That was tough,” said Schulha. “He’ll have an ultrasound on Monday and hopefully it’s not as bad as it looks. We can only hope for the best. It was fluke thing as he was just backing off the net. But that’s sport and we’ll have to adjust.”

Briercrest finished the tournament 4-0 after beating Capilano 3-0 and College of the Rockies 3-2 Saturday. Capilano beat Medicine Hat 3-2 and VIU stopped SAIT 3-1.

Medicine Hat also downed College of the Rockies 3-0 and finished at 2-2. SAIT was 1-3 while VIU and Douglas were 2-2, Capilano and College of the Rockies 1-3.

The Kings are in a tournament in Edmonton this weekend.

The RDC Queens play a tournament in Cranbrook this weekend and host the Wild Rose Classic, Oct. 4-6. RDC opens their regular season at home Oct. 25-26 against Medicine Hat.

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