Earlier in the season when it appeared as if first place in the South Division of the Alberta Colleges Women’s Volleyball League was in the hands of the Briercrest Bible College Clippers and out of reach the RDC Queens set their sights on finishing second.
The two-time defending national champions gave themselves a chance to do just that with a 25-22, 22-25, 25-17, 25-15 victory over the Olds College Broncos at RDC Saturday and a sweep of their weekend doubleheader. They won 3-0 at Olds, Friday.
The third-place Queens, 15-7, are two points back of the SAIT Trojans, 16-6, with the teams meeting next weekend in a home-and-home series – Friday at RDC and Saturday in Calgary.
“It came down to us winning against Olds and setting up the weekend against SAIT,” said Queens head coach Talbot Walton. “We put ourselves in the right spot with an opportunity to move into second. The nice thing is we’re playing well in our gym which is a bonus with the provincials here.”
The only negative Saturday came midway through the second set when the Queens blew a 17-10 lead.
“Our serve receive was a little off,” explained Walton.
“We could have done a better job on first touch. When we don’t do a good job with that it puts more pressure on our outside hitters. When we pass the ball well we can run more through the middle.”
When setter Ashley Fehr was able to run the offence through the middle as well as the outside the Broncos had little to stop them. In the end power hitters Kelsey Tymkow and Miranda Dawe finished with 13 and 12 kills respectively, right side McKenna Barthel had nine kills and middles Whitney Zylstra and Hanna Delemont had nine and seven kills respectively.
“That’s what we want to see from our middles,” said Walton, who was impressed with Zylstra’s step-around attack.
“She has a very good first step and ranks right up with the best we’ve had here over the years,” he said. “She’s lightning fast.”
Zylstra, who transferred from Briercrest this season, also had 12 digs, three blocks and an ace. Delemont had five digs, a block and two aces.
“We’ve left Whitney in the back row after she served and it’s picked up her play in the front row as well,” said Walton.
Tymkow was the player of the match, adding 23 digs, three aces and a block to her stats. Dawe added 18 digs while Barthel had three blocks and two digs, Fehr 45 assists, four digs, an ace and a block and Olivia Barnes 14 digs.
Lacombe native Naomi Jardine led Olds with 17 kills, 14 digs and an ace. Tara Yuha had 10 kills and 12 digs.
Kings 3 Broncos 0
Despite winning 3-0 on Friday Kings head coach Aaron Schulha wasn’t overly pleased. He felt the team let down after jumping into an early lead.
That wasn’t the case Saturday as the Kings rolled to a 25-15, 25-13, 25-17 victory.
“We came out of the gates a bit slow, but they do have some good athletes, although they made some errors which we were able to capitalize on,” said Schulha. “Then again we forced them into making some of those errors.”
One area Schulha would have liked to have seen a better effort was in blocking.
“I thought we left five or six blocks out there,” he said. “We need to get better in terms of eye sequences and making good reads and forcing them into mistakes.”
Still the Kings were never pressed as they finished with 10 blocks, 35 kills and three aces. Olds had one block, four aces and 24 kills.
Schulha also rested outside hitter Riley Friesen who was their player of the game Friday, inserting Regan Fathers in at power. Fathers had a solid game with 10 kills, seven digs, two blocks and an ace.
“Regan did a good job,” said Schulha. “The last few times out he was down on himself and it snowballed into making some errors. Today he did a good job of keeping in it. That’s important as we need everyone going forward.”
Schulha also used his bench for part of the second set and the entire third.
“It was good to give everyone some playing time, so they are rewarded for their hard work in practice and are sharp going ahead,” said Schulha.
The Kings, 21-1, are ranked No. 1 in Canada and will go into the provincials, Feb. 25-27 at NAIT, seeded No. 1.
‘We have to concentrate on SAIT first as they’re playing well,” said Schulha.
“But the main thing is for us to focus on our side and continue to hold ourselves to a certain standard. If so we will be OK.”
Middle Ty Moorman was the RDC player of the match with eight kills and one block. Kashtin De Souza had five kills and four digs, Luke Brisbane 16 assists, two blocks and two digs and backup setter Ryan Beaton 11 assists.
Dylan White had nine kills for Olds.