The two-time defending Canadian champion RDC Queens have struggled through the early portion of the Alberta Colleges Women’s Volleyball League season and may have hit the bottom Friday when they blew a 2-0 lead to lose 3-2 to the homestanding Olds Broncos.
So Saturday afternoon it was time for them to stand up and be counted. They did just that shaking off a 25-27 loss in the first set to go on and down the Broncos 25-23, 25-15, 25-19 at RDC.
“Coming into this weekend we thought we had to play at that level,” said Queens head coach Talbot Walton, who indicated he was more than a little upset following Friday’s loss.
“I really don’t know what to say about yesterday. I’ve never had that happen in a long time … a complete mental breakdown.
“I don’t know who that was in the third, fourth and fifth sets. Now there wasn’t much difference between the first two sets yesterday and today.”
The Queens showed the talent level they do possess as they were able to shake off Friday’s disaster.
“We came in with the mindset that losing is not a good feeling and wanted to prove we were better than that,” said Queens player of the match Miranda Dawe, who finished with 18 kills, 11 digs, there aces and a block.
“Miranda was a difference in this match,” said Walton. “She gave us what we needed. She got the kills and didn’t just hit the ball in the same spot all the time, but moved it around and was very disciplined with her sets and did what the situation called for. When she’s rolling like that she’s hard to stop.”
“We’re coming together as a team,” added Dawe. “We’re getting to know each other and we’re executing better. I believe this game sparked something in the team and it’s up from here.”
Setter Maegan Kuzyk, who played the last two years with the NAIT Ooks and is now the team’s lone setter with Ashley Fehr out with a MCL strain, also looked more at home.
“When we’re going well everyone looks comfortable and things aren’t going well they don’t,” said Walton. “I think we take a lesson from Friday and make sure we stay focused on our side and not let other factors affect us. Once we do that everyone will feel more comfortable.”
Walton started the same group who played Friday.
“We wanted to see if they could redeem themselves and play at a higher level,” he said.
Middle Taylor Wickson added 12 kills, four blocks and six digs for the Queens while Kelsey Tymkow had eight kills, 15 digs and an ace and McKenna Barthel added seven kills, seven digs one ace and one block. Kuzyk finished with 41 assists and 11 digs while Lauren Marshall started at libero and had 12 digs. Middle Whitney Zylstra had six kills, four blocks, an ace and four digs.
Cheyenne Heidebrecht had 13 kills, an ace and six digs for Olds while Janelle Neyron had 10 kills, 10 digs and two aces. Jamie Craig had 38 assists, four digs and two blocks.
Kings 3 Broncos 0
The Kings, who defeated the Broncos 3-0 Friday, appeared to lose some focus as Saturday’s match went on but still pulled out a 25-14, 25-19, 25-17 victory over the Broncos.
“We played a clean match yesterday and with a bunch of the same guys we started off clean today but our focus did taper off a bit as we went on,” said Kings head coach Aaron Schulha. “We told the guys to focus on our side of the net and not worry about what else was going on. Today we weren’t as clean as yesterday and while some guys weren’t as sharp it was nice to see guys picking each other up.”
Schulha sat the majority of his starting lineup for the second straight day.
“It’s good for the other guys to get playing time against someone other than who they see at practice and it was good to rest guys who have played the majority of the time.”
Middle Ben Hankins of Red Deer was one player who got a chance to see playing time as he came in in the third set and had a kill and two blocks, much to the delight of friends and family.
Daimyn Biletsky was the RDC player of the match with 12 kills, five digs and a block while Brian Grenier continues to play well with 12 kills, eight digs and an ace. Ryan Beatson started at setter and finished with 31 assists, two aces and two digs while Grady Mawer had seven kills and seven digs.
Zachary Deacon had seven kills and two blocks for the Broncos.