WELLAND, Ont. — The RDC Kings can play better, and they will likely have to if they hope to win the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association men’s volleyball championship, but they did what they had to in their opening match of the nationals Thursday afternoon.
“We weren’t as crisp as we would have liked, but we won 3-0 and it gave everyone a chance to get the nerves out,” said Kings head coach Aaron Schulha following a 25-13, 25-17, 25-18 win over the University of Kings College Blue Devils of Halifax, N.S.
“We knew going in we were more physical than they were and if we looked after our side we’d be fine,” added Schulha. “We were a little nervous at times, but we’re on track and where we want to be.”
The Kings will face a familiar foe in the semifinals today at 4 p.m. (MST) as they clash with the SAIT Trojans, who downed the Vancouver Island University Mariners 25-23, 25-20, 25-23.
“They played well,” said Schulha after watching the Trojans win. “It will be a tough match. I didn’t like the fact they were on our side of the draw as we would have liked to have met in the final, but we can’t do anything about it. We likely had to meet them sometime.”
The Kings beat the Trojans in all three meetings this season, including in the ACAC final.
Tim Finnigan was named the RDC player of the match with 11 kills, an ace, six digs and a stuff block while Braden O’Toole added 12 kills, an ace, seven digs and a block. Chris Osborn had five kills, three aces and two blocks and Pat McIntyre added eight digs.
In other action, Nipissing from North Bay, Ont., downed L’Outaouais of Gatineau, Que., 25-17, 25-13, 25-21 and the host Niagara stopped second seeded Capilano College of North Vancouver 16-25, 25-18, 23-25, 25-23, 15-8.
Alberta champion NAIT Ooks were knocked out of the gold medal side of the women’s tournament in Lloydminster, losing 26-28, 25-20, 22-25, 18-25 to Quebec’s FX Garneau. The host Lakeland Rustlers also lost, dropping a 25-21, 22-25, 26-28, 21-25 decision to Humber College of Etobicoke, Ont.
In other play, Fraser Valley downed Mount Saint Vincent University of Halifax 3-1 and Edouard-Montpetit of Longueuil, Que., defeated Columbia Bible College of Abbotsford 3-1.
l In ACAC news, hockey Queens Natasha Steblin and basketball Kings star Rob Pierce were named ACAC athletes of the week.
Steblin was an anchor on the Queens blueline during the opening two games of the ACAC final against NAIT, despite losing both games — 3-0 and 2-1. She shared the award with Olds basketball star Jylia Williams, who was a key played in the Broncos winning the ACAC title.
Pierce continued to be one of the premier players in the conference, leading the Kings to their second ever ACAC title last weekend in Fort McMurray.