Queens advance at volleyball championships

Queens 3 Clippers 2 The RDC Queens knew heading into their opening match of the Alberta Colleges Women’s Volleyball League championships they weren’t going to have an easy time.

Queens 3 Clippers 2

The RDC Queens knew heading into their opening match of the Alberta Colleges Women’s Volleyball League championships they weren’t going to have an easy time.

They were facing the Briercrest Bible College Clippers, a team they hosted less than a month ago when both matches went the distance.

So when Friday’s quarter-final went five no one was surprised.

“They’re tough, they have a different style and hit everything and are good servers,” said Queens veteran power hitter Brooke Sutter. “But we pulled together when we needed to and pulled it out in five. When we needed to get the points in the end we did, but hopefully we don’t wait so long tomorrow.”

The Queens won 25-23, 21-25, 25-19, 15-25, 15-6 and advanced into the semifinals against the NAIT Ooks, who downed the Medicine Hat Rattlers 25-20, 25-16, 24-26, 15-25, 19-17.

On the other side, the Lakeland College Rustlers edged the Grande Prairie Wolves 25-22, 25-21, 24-26, 21-25, 15-6 and the Grant MacEwan University Griffins stopped the Olds Broncos 25-17, 25-20, 23-25, 25-20.

The Eagles didn’t help themselves in the fifth set as they missed three serves and hit three other balls out of bounds.

“They get back and some of those servers were tough, the only hope we had was that they’d miss,” said Queens head coach Talbot Walton. “Their margin of error was small and they’d either score a bunch of points or they’d miss like in the fifth set. That was a big difference.”

The Queens also didn’t have a significant letdown in the final set, unlike the second and fourth sets. They trailed 11-1 in the second set and while they narrowed the gap to 21-17 couldn’t come back all the way. In the fourth set they never did get on a real roll.

“The first match always seems to be tough,” said Sutter. “I know even last year it was a relief to get into the second round. You have to play through it.”

Walton believed the Queens couldn’t have faced a tougher opening round opponent.

“They are one of the best eighth seeded teams I’ve seen,” he said. “If they could have had a bit better first half of the season they would have been a higher seed. Unfortunately for them they faced us (today) and we came through and it takes one of the top teams out.”

One thing Walton did like was what he saw from his team in the final set.

“I think sometimes our fitness takes over, but really I’m not sure what happens. Possibly we even relaxed a bit as we knew we had to win this one set or we were out.”

Sutter liked the fact they were playing at home.

“We did have some nerves early, but we know this gym and it seems to work out for us.”

Sutter finished with 14 kills, three aces, 14 digs and two stuff blocks while Shelby Bramall had eight kills, Karissa Kuhr six kills, eight digs, four blocks and two aces. Amber Adolf, who was named the ACAC rookie of the year at Thursday’s banquet, came off the bench and was solid with eight kills, 11 digs and two blocks. Leanne Price added five blocks and libero Maddi Quinn had 17 digs.

Mikayla Reinhardt had 14 kills and eight digs for the Clippers while Elly Wendel added 10 kills, two aces and 10 digs.

The Broncos came into the championship as underdogs as they are only in their first season in the ACAC.

“This was all we could ask for to have the team come out and compete and that’s what they did today,” said Broncos head coach Chris Wandler. “I’m proud of the group, they’ve come a long way since the beginning of the season and to come here and compete with the best is an accomplishment for sure.”

Still Wandler wanted to win.

“We had some opportunities to put sets away, but didn’t do that, but we only had two girls with playoff experience. Now we multiplied that by 10 fold.”

Telaina Snider had 11 kills and 11 digs for the Broncos while Sage Fahlman added 11 kills, an ace, two blocks and 10 digs. Libero Shael Bourne of Delburne was their player of the match with 29 digs.

Madison Porisky had 14 kills for GMU.

• Sorensen and Sutter were named to the ACAC’s first All-Conference team Thursday while Walton was the coach of the year . . . Snider was on the second team . . . MacEwan and Lakeland meet today at 6 p.m. with the RDC-NAIT game at 8 p.m. . . . Olds clashes with Grande Prairie at 1 p.m. and Briercrest takes on Medicine Hat at 3 p.m.