TORONTO — What started out to be a bit shaky ended in pure ecstasy for the RDC Queens.
The Queens opened the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association women’s volleyball championships squeezing past the Capilano College Blues of North Vancouver 3-2, winning the fifth set 18-16 after trailing 14-13.
“We were definitely shaky against Capilano, but we built some momentum by winning that fifth set and that seemed to set the tone for the semifinal and it carried over to the final,” said Queens head coach Talbot Walton.
The Queens won the semifinal 3-1 over Vancouver Island University Mariners of Nanaimo then dominated the Grande Prairie Wolves in the final, winning 25-17, 25-21, 25-19 to capture their second Canadian title and first since 1984.
Walton admitted he was a bit worried going into the final, especially after the Queens disposed of the Wolves 3-0 in the ACAC final two weeks before.
“I thought they would be really pumped for us and want to get revenge,” he said. “But we had a talk with the girls before the match about just taking care of everything and do what they’re supposed to, win or lose. They came out fired up and three points in we knew we had set the tone and Grande Prairie was on their heels.”
The Queens dominated play at the net, both in hitting and blocking.
“Every set we jumped out into the lead and in every set we had one person go back to serve and we’d score five or six points to take command. That was all we needed.”
The Queens also got several outstanding individual efforts, with Amber Adolf leading the way. Adolf was named the player of the match with 18 kills and one stuff block and was also tournament MVP.
She was played a key role in the winning point, as she passed the ball to setter Bronwyn Hawkes, got a return set and slammed home the championship point.
“Bronwyn did a great job on the set as she had to go up to get the pass, which froze their middle blocker and when she passed the ball outside to Amber she was one-on-one and she put it away.
“As soon as I saw the middle go up with Bronwyn I started to get out of my seat,” said Walton. “Amber was outstanding all tournament. She couldn’t be blocked. I think in the final she hit about .600, making very few errors.”
Hawkes and left side Brooke Sutter were named to the first all-star team.
“Bronwyn was outstanding,” said Walton. “Being in her first full year of setting she made all the right decisions and got to balls that weren’t passed perfectly and still made great decisions. And of course Brooke was outstanding on defence and at the net. She made one block you’d never believe a girl of her size (five-foot-eight) would make. A player twice her size would have had trouble making it.”
Sutter, Adolf, middle blocker Shelby Bramall and right side Karissa Kuhr are all in their final season with the Queens.
“A great way to go out,” said Walton, whose team finished third in 2010. This team was special. We had the right mix of athletes, with seven girls at the high end at the same time.”
Walton got numerous texts and tweets following the game, many from previous RDC players.
‘This is something great of us, but also something we can share with all the previous players, coaches and managers,” he said.
Kuhr and Sutter both added 10 kills and Bramall eight in the final.