Local Sports: Watchful eye for volleyball pays off for Ben Holmes

Coming out of Lindsay Thurber Ben Holmes was considered one of the top recruits to join the RDC Kings.

But stepping onto the premier men’s volleyball team in the country meant sitting and watching for the majority of the season.

Holmes played in only six games his rookie year, but he watched and learned, something that helped him develop into a solid starter.

“It was a big step from high school,” said Holmes. “Once you start practising you realize the guys are bigger and hit harder but the biggest difference is the energy and intensity they play at. It was beyond anything I felt before and it took time to get used to.”

Holmes also wasn’t coming into an ordinary program.

“Because of the expectations here there was even more pressure which leads to the passion and intensity you see in practice and games. You’re pulled into that. The coaches and the history fuel that passion and intensity and makes it more fun for sure.”

The Kings defeated the Limoilou Titans in the national final in B.C. in Holmes rookie season, then lost the majority of their starting lineup, which allowed Holmes a chance to step into a starting role on the left side. He played in 20 matches, averaging 2.02 kills per set.

Even then he was still learning.

“But I gained a lot of confidence,” he said. “I had a bigger role in my second year and I developed a lot more confidence. Because of that I felt I was able to lead and had trust in myself and my teammates had trust in me.”

As well the six-foot-three Red Deer native was named captain.

“It’s a good role and a lot of fun, especially this year where we have several older guys and great leaders.

“It spreads the leadership out and takes the burden off some guys as everyone comes together and provides that leadership.”

Holmes is one of the team’s most consistent defenders and is someone head coach Aaron Schulha feels confident in.

“He’s a stable passer and has been a defensive leader for us all year,” said Schulha. “He’s also able to handle a tonne of volume on offence or be satisfied with 10 balls. He’s a captain and does everything we ask of him and once he’s consistent with his serve the sky is the limit.”

Consistency on the service line is one thing Holmes continues to work on.

“My serving has been up and down,” he said. “It’s coming, but I have to continue to work on it all the time.

“It’s different than high school where you just have to get the ball over the net. Here there’s more pressure on you as you need to serve tougher and not give an easy ball to handle.”

Serving, or missed serves, is one area the Kings need to improve on as a team.

“It’s tough on us when we miss back-to-back serves, it affects the whole team, but it’s something we’re continuing to work on.”

Offensively, led by 2017 national finals MVP Regan Fathers, and Holmes the Kings can play with any team in the country. The same can be said about their defence.

“We work hard on our defence, but it starts with a good serve and a solid block,” said Holmes. “Defence works around that and when you have the intensity and good teammates, like we do, everything comes together.”

The Kings hosted the first RDC Christmas tournament last weekend, bringing together five of the top teams in the country, including defending CCAA champion Limoilou and top-ranked Fanshawe College out of Ontario.

The Kings posted a 3-1 record, losing only to Fanshawe, who also finished at 3-1.

“It was a great opportunity for us to see where we sit and what we need to work on before we host the Nationals,” said Holmes. “It’s hard to know what the other teams are like without seeing them. Now we know where we have to be in March.”

Holmes is excited to host the CCAA finals.

“It’ll be a crazy feeling to have it in your home city with the support I know we’ll get.”

Holmes is taking psychology and will be with the Kings for all five year.

Danny Rode is a retired Advocate reporter who can be reached at danrode@shaw.ca

Just Posted

Lacombe council seeking answers about policing cost overruns

Council surprised to find out about $240,000 policing budget shortfall

Red Deer fundraiser to help educate Somali orphans on May 11

The Mother’s Day event is for all ages

These blues will get you dancing: The Overdue Blues Band performs in Red Deer Saturday

Calgary’s Brother Ray Lemelin Band is also on Elks Lodge bill

Gardening: Time and effort key to buying garden plants

Greenhouses, garden centers and box stores are set to start selling bedding… Continue reading

Montreal native Nicholas Latifi off to solid start on Formula 2 race circuit

Practice makes perfect for Canadian Nicholas Latifi. The 23-year-old Montreal auto racer… Continue reading

Bruins victory over Leafs ensures an American team will hoist the Stanley Cup

TORONTO — Many NHL players were either not yet born or too… Continue reading

Swole, buzzy, among new words in Merriam-Webster dictionary

BOSTON — Get swole, prepare a bug-out bag, grab a go-cup and… Continue reading

Garner graces cover of People’s annual ‘Beautiful Issue’

NEW YORK — Jennifer Garner graces the front of this year’s “Beautiful… Continue reading

Updated: Joshua Arthur Sanford has been found, says RCMP

37-year-old Ponoka man last seen on Tuesday morning

Inspired by a galaxy far, far away, these ‘Star Wars’ mementos could be yours forever

CHICAGO —The stuff of “Star Wars” —and there is unfortunately no better… Continue reading

Shoppers Drug Mart launches second online medical pot portal in Alberta

TORONTO — Medical cannabis users in Alberta can now get their therapeutic… Continue reading

Most Read