For two members of the RDC Queens the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference women’s volleyball championships kicked off a little early.
Miranda Dawe and Whitney Zylstra were among those honoured at the ACAC women’s volleyball awards banquet at RDC Wednesday.
Dawe, a third-year left side hitter from Grande Prairie, was selected to the South Division All-Conference team for the second year in a row.
“It’s definitely an honour,” said Dawe, who finished the season with 172 kills, 27 aces, 211 digs and eight blocks in 19 matches.
Dawe felt the second half of the season went better than the first.
“It took a little adjusting to the different setters (Ashley Fehr and Meagan Kuzyk), but I though I improved second semester as we all got used to different players on the court,” she said.
Dawe also shared the left side with Kelsey Tymkow and Jessica Jones.
“It was awesome having depth so that we had someone to step in if we needed a rest or to come in when someone wasn’t having a great day.”
Dawe will be looked at to carry a large portion of the load this weekend as the two-time defending national champion Queens look to win their third straight ACAC title.
“It will be tough,” said Dawe. “There are a lot of good teams here and it will be exciting to see who comes out on top. I know for ourselves we’re looking forward to playing good teams and of course we want to win.”
The Queens meet Grande Prairie in their first game at 6 p.m. tonight.
Zylstra, a fourth-year middle blocker from Chilliwack, B.C., is in her first season with the Queens was also named to the South Division All-Conference team. She played the first three with Briercrest.
“This was obviously a different culture and a different group of girls, but it was something I was looking forward to,” she said. “It was more than I imagined. Getting to know the girls and the coaching of Talbot (Walton) has been great.”
Zylstra, who finished with 116 kills, 25 aces, 101 digs and 44 blocks, was pleased with her season.
“I think I’ve grown as a player. In my fourth year I have more experience and was lucky enough to gain that playing in Briercrest and seeing the court. I also know my second semester here was better than the first. I’m happy the way it went.”
The five-foot-nine Zylstra is one of the premier blockers in the ACAC.
“It was something I worked hard at,” she said. “My first two years it was a goal of mine to work extra had because I was smaller. I worked at being faster, at being quicker and to be able to read the setter so that I have an advantage.”
Meanwhile three players from first-place Briercrest – Mikayla Reinhardt, Samantha Zacharias and Kathleen Bruce – and three from fourth-place Olds – Brooklyn Gathercole, Jamie Craig and Kassandra Menzies – were on the South All-Conference team. Others were Megan Brennan and Kayla Nixon of SAIT.
The North Division All-Conference team included Ahnika Kuse, Michelle Laing and Laura Popplestone of Lakeland, Keri Alcorn, Jocelyn Van Rik and Niki Friesen of The Kings University, Kathy Cordingley and Jamie Strauss of Grande Prairie and Candice Hughes and Megan Smith of NAIT.
Ashley Zacharias of Briecrest was the rookie of the year for the South and Morgan Rigelhof of Augustana for the North. Samantha Zacharias, who was the player of the year in Canada last season, was the South player of the year with Friesen the player of the year in the North.
Art O’Dwyer of SAIT was the South’s coach of the year and Lakeland’s Austin Dyer for the north.
Meanwhile three members of the RDC Kings – Like Brisbane, Nic Dubinsky and Tom Lyon – were named to the men’s South All-Conference team at the awards banquet at NAIT.
The Kings face the host NAIT Ooks in their opening match today at 8 p.m.
Other action today at RDC sees Olds taking on The Kings University at 1 p.m., Lakeland and SAIT meeting at 3 p.m. and Briercrest and Keyano clashing at 8 p.m.
The semifinals go Friday at 6 and 8 p.m. with the bronze medal match Saturday at 1 p.m. and the gold at 3:30 p.m.