Local Sports: Aussie connection paying off for RDC Kings

Local Sports: Aussie connection paying off for RDC Kings

The RDC volleyball Kings have put together a nice pipeline with Australia.

“It started several years ago and has been perfect for us and hopefully it continues,” said Kings head coach Aaron Schulha.

“It’s not a huge deal as they speak English and fit in nicely. It’s a good pipeline to have and nice in that we’re able to keep guys for several years and then look for the next group to come in.”

The likes of setters Luke and Sam Brisbane and outside hitter Regan Fathers, to name just a few, have played a major role in helping the Kings maintain their status as one of the premier men’s college volleyball programs in the country.

Last season Fathers was the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association player of the year as he finished off his college career with a silver medal at the CCAA championships at RDC.

But he wasn’t finished helping the Kings, playing a major role in recruiting the latest Aussie star Patrik Toze.

Toze originally came to Canada from Australia in 2015 to play with the College of the Rockies in Cranbrook, B.C. He played two years with COTR before transferring to Mount Royal University.

He spent one season there but tore up his shoulder, which needed reconstructive surgery.

“I took last season off to recuperate,” he explained. “I decided I wanted to come back but wasn’t sure where. Regan is a good friend of mine and he said Aaron was looking for someone and that’s when I decided to see about coming here.”

But he wasn’t sure what role he’d fill.

“I felt I was a little broken after the injury and sitting out a year, but it’s been a good transition. I wasn’t sure what my role would be. If it would be more working with the younger guys off the court or how much playing time I’d get. It’s been a little of both which I’m pleased with.

“It’s great to share stuff with the younger guys.”

It took a while for Toze to start to regain his form he showed when he was the rookie of the year and first-team all-star in the PacWest in Cranbrook.

The fact is Toze has quickly become one of the premier outside hitters on the Kings. He started playing on the right side but has moved back to his more familiar spot on the left side and is averaging 2.1 kills per set.

“I’m still getting back into it, but it’s not looking too bad for an old guy,” laughed the six-foot-four 23-year-old from Brisbane.

While Patrik just needs repetitions to get back his timing on the court, he said the toughest part about coming back after missing a year has been in the class room.

“Getting back on track in school is tough. It’s tough to just stop then pick it up again.”

But overall the transition to RDC has been smooth. It helps having three other Aussies — setter Tom Wass, Regan’s brother Jayden and middle Dillon Gauci — on the roster.

“It certainly makes the transition easier,” he said. “This is the first team I’ve played with other guys from Australia. In fact I room with a couple. It’s been a blast.”

Schulha feels Toze is close to being where he needs to be.

“He’s a dynamic player. He brings a different kind of height of attack with similar explosiveness to Regan. His passing is coming along with his serve. He’s been working hard on developing all pats of his game. He’s a good energy piece and has been great to work with.

“He’s a definite asset being able to play both wings and when he’s passing and serving he’s tough to stop.”

Toze is in his fourth season of eligibility and feels he’ll be around next season.

That has Schulha smiling.

“We certainly want to keep him. Right now we have a good mix (of Aussies) on the team with a setter middle and outside hitter.”

Danny Rode is a retired Advocate reporter and member of the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame who can be reached at danrode@shaw.ca

RDCvolleyball

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Whistle Stop Cafe owner Christopher Scott and his sister Melodie pose for a photo at the Mirror restaurant. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Alberta Health Services delivers ‘closure order’ to Mirror restaurant

Alberta Health Services says it has delivered a closure order to a… Continue reading

Flags bearers hold the Canadian flag high during the Flags of Remembrance ceremony in Sylvan Lake in this October file photo. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
New project to pay tribute to Canadians killed in Afghanistan

Flags of Remembrance scheduled for Sept. 11

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Alberta vaccine rollout expanding to front-line health-care workers

More than 240,000 eligible health-care workers can begin booking vaccine appointments starting… Continue reading

File photo
The Red Deer Rebels will have three new assistant coaches when the WHL regular season starts on Friday. Brad Flynn (left), will be on the bench alongside fellow assistant Ryan Colville (right) head coach Brent Sutter (middle). (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Sutter steps down as Red Deer Rebels head coach

Red Deer Rebels Owner, GM and head coach Brent Sutter has stepped… Continue reading

Red Deer-South MLA Jason Stephan is among those who have signed an open letter criticizing the government’s return to stricter health measures. (Advocate file photo).
Updated: Kenney tells UCP caucus COVID-19 dissent OK, breaking health rules means expulsion

15 MLAs released letter on Wednesday critical of new health restrictions

Conservative leader Erin O'Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 6, 2020. Top Tory leaders of past and present will speak with supporters today about what a conservative economic recovery from COVID-19 could look like. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Erin O’Toole says ‘I didn’t hide who I was’ running for Conservative leader

OTTAWA — Erin O’Toole assured Conservative supporters that he never hid who… Continue reading

Calgary Flames' Johnny Gaudreau, second from left, celebrates his goal with teammates, from left to right, Matthew Tkachuk, Noah Hanifin and Rasmus Andersson, of Sweden, during second period NHL hockey action against the Edmonton Oilers, in Calgary, Alta., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Larry MacDougal
Jacob Markstrom earns shutout as Flames blank Oilers 5-0 in Battle of Alberta

CALGARY — It took Sean Monahan breaking out of his goal-scoring slump… Continue reading

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia's opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan's government, but they say Monday's throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province's economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

VICTORIA — British Columbia’s opposition parties acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented… Continue reading

A grizzly bear walks on a treadmill as Dr. Charles Robbins, right, offers treats as rewards at Washington State University's Bear Research, Education, and Conservation Center in this undated handout photo. Grizzly bears seem to favour gently sloping or flat trails like those commonly used by people, which can affect land management practices in wild areas, says an expert who has written a paper on their travel patterns. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Anthony Carnahan *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Grizzly bears prefer walking on gentle slopes at a leisurely pace like humans: study

VANCOUVER — Grizzly bears seem to favour gently sloping or flat trails… Continue reading

FILE - In this July 27, 2020, file photo, nurse Kathe Olmstead prepares a shot that is part of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., in Binghamton, N.Y. Moderna said Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, its COVID-19 shot provides strong protection against the coronavirus that's surging in the U.S. and around the world. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink, File)
The COVID-19 wasteland: searching for clues to the pandemic in the sewers

OTTAWA — When Ottawa Public Health officials are trying to decide whether… Continue reading

Researchers look over a map aboard the Finnish icebreaker MSV Nordica as it sets sail in the North Pacific Ocean toward the Bering Strait to traverse the Arctic's Northwest Passage on July 6, 2017. The Canadian government wants more study on the impacts of banning heavy fuel oil in the Arctic before it signs on to an international agreement to do so. It has been 16 months since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and then U.S. President Barack Obama jointly committed to phase down the use of heavy fuel oils in the Arctic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, David Goldman
‘You cannot claim any more:’ Russia seeks bigger piece of Arctic Ocean seabed

IQALUIT, Nunavut — Russia wants to stretch out imaginary lines on the… Continue reading

The Queen, centre, Prince Philip, right, and Princess Anne relax as they sail to Victoria, B.C., on May 3, 1971 accompanied out of Vancouver harbour by numerous small craft. Prince Philip, the Queen's husband of more than 70 years, passed away at Windsor Castle on Friday, Buckingham Palace announced. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Bill Croke
Andrew: Philip’s death has left ‘huge void’ in queen’s life

LONDON — The death of Prince Philip has left a “huge void”… Continue reading

A medical staffer works with test systems for the diagnosis of coronavirus, at the Krasnodar Center for Hygiene and Epidemiology microbiology lab in Krasnodar, Russia, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. Russia has closed its land border with China and suspended most train traffic between the countries. (AP Photo)
Official: Chinese vaccines’ effectiveness low

BEIJING — In a rare admission of the weakness of Chinese coronavirus… Continue reading

Most Read