Queens rally from deficit to beat Broncos in volleyball action

The Central Alberta showdown between the Red Deer College Queens and Olds College Broncos lived up to its billing as a meeting between two of the top women’s volleyball teams in the country.

Queens 3 Broncos 2

The Central Alberta showdown between the Red Deer College Queens and Olds College Broncos lived up to its billing as a meeting between two of the top women’s volleyball teams in the country.

RDC entered the Friday night match as the No. 1 ranked team in the Canadian Colleges Athletic Conference and as the defending national champion, Olds was ranked No. 4 and had only dropped one set all season. But it was the host Queens who rallied from a 2-1 set deficit to win 3-2 (25-15, 21-25, 22-25, 25-20, 15-3).

“I’ll definitely take the way we played in the fourth and the fifth (sets), I think it took us that time to relax after what I’ll call a little mini-tragedy in the second set,” sad Queens head coach Talbot Walton.

The Queens were led by third year libero who made 31 digs, several of the highlight reel variety as RDC was trying to claw their way back into the match. Miranda Dawe added 16 kills,15 digs and five blocks while Alex Donaghy also had 16 kills and Leah Koot 14 kills and 22 digs. Setter Bronwyn Hawkes had a 57-assist effort.

Olds was led by Naomi Jardine with 15 kills and 11 digs while setter Jamie Craig had 42 assists and 11 digs.

After RDC dominated the first set, they fell apart in the second with several sloppy errors at the net and from the service line. It took until the fourth set to get the momentum back, and even that was back and forth until Megan Schmidt served out the final three points for RDC.

“(Quinn) made some really big plays that sparked some opportunities to extend rallies and win rallies,” said Walton. “I think that’s an experience thing, knowing you have the ability to up your game when everyone around you is playing OK and then find another gear, and Maddi found another gear.”

Kings 3 Broncos 0

The RDC Kings showed why they were heavy favourites on Friday against the Olds College Broncos, rolling to a 3-0 (25-19, 25-14, 25-22) win, playing most of the final two sets with first year players on the floor.

Freshman power Brian Grenier, out of Lindsay Thurber Composite High School, led the Kings with 12 kills while rookie Aussie Adam Turlejski had seven.

Jonny Smook, Dylan White and Zack Deacon al had six kills for the Broncos while Markus Hirsch had 23 assists.

“I wasn’t really happy with how the third set went, I thought we let them back into the match; a team that’s down 2-0 has to become a little bit desperate and they were attacking with some pace … and whether you’re fourth year or first year, that shouldn‘t be a surprise to anybody,” said Kings head coach Aaron Schulha.

The only starter to play the entire game for the Kings was freshman setter Luke Brisbane, who finished with 32 assists and four digs.

The only reason he did not come off the floor is because veteran setter Tegan McGraw is still out with shin splints. Also missing in action was all-Canadian power Tim Finnigan and his brother Anthony Finnigan. If there was a time to draw the winless Broncos this weekend and the Ambrose University Lions (2-6; 9-19) last week, they could not have picked it better.

“We have some options, the options are limited, but the young guys are getting it done,” said Schulha.

RDC is in Olds tonight with the women going at 6 p.m. and the men at 8 p.m.

• The RDC Kings (6-2) beat St. Mary’s University College Lightning (1-9) in Calgary 100-51 on Friday in men’s basketball. The Queens (0-9) fell 77-61 to the Lightning (4-7). The Queens were led by Kennedy Burgess and Dedra Janvier who scored 15 points each. They play in Red Deer tonight with the women tipping off at 6 p.m. followed by the men.

• The RDC Queens lost 1-0 in overtime to the NAIT Ooks in women’s hockey in Edmonton. Summer Roberts made 27 saves in the loss for the Queens.