The Red Deer College Queens looked like anything but the top-ranked women’s volleyball team heading into their final game before their bye,
The Queens (16-2; 51-10) fell 3-2 (16-25, 24-26, 25-22, 25-20, 15-8) to the expansion Ambrose University College Lions (2-16; 10-51) on Saturday in Calgary in the biggest upset in the nation this season.
The defending Canadian Colleges Athletic Association champions struggled with consistency and allowed the previously one-win Lions to rattle them.
“It was one of those games where we couldn’t stop that wave once it got going,” said Queens head coach Talbot Walton. “By the time it rolled around to that fifth set we were in a situation where we weren’t able to generate our own points and were hoping Ambrose would lose the game, not for us to win the game.”
Kelsey Tymkow was the Queens player of the game with 22 kills and 11 digs, but they were unable to stop the Lions’ three outside hitters: Jordan Denham (15 kills), Ashtyn McKenzie (14 kills, 14 digs, three blocks) and Brooklyn Dyck (14 kills, eight digs).
The Lions showed signs of the ability to pull off this type of upset in Friday’s match at RDC, despite losing 3-0 (25-16, 25-16, 26-24). Ambrose started to build their confidence in the second set and nearly won the third before RDC rallied late to win it.
This time they were unable to rally and regain the momentum.
The Queens will have almost two full weeks to marinate in the loss as they head into their second semester bye week. It is not a situation they are used to being in and Walton hopes it will be a wake-up call for his girls.
“It’s a tough thing for everyone to deal with, coaching staff and athletes,” said Walton. “Just getting that mind set that losing is part of sports and you have to deal with it and hopefully you deal with it the right way.”
• The RDC Kings men’s volleyball team completed their straight-sets sweep of the Lions on Saturday, beating them 3-0 (25-15, 25-17, 25-14). Luke Brisbane was RDC’s player of the game with two kills, three blocks, one ace and 29 assists while Nic Dubinsky had 12 kills on 17 assists.
RDC returns to action on Feb. 6 in Medicine Hat against the Rattlers.