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Queens squeeze out win in nationals opener

TORONTO — The RDC Queens made it tougher on themselves than they needed to, but they came through when it counted the most. The Queens won the first two sets of their opening match of the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association women’s volleyball championships 25-17, 25-18 over the Capilano College Blues of North Vancouver.

TORONTO — The RDC Queens made it tougher on themselves than they needed to, but they came through when it counted the most.

The Queens won the first two sets of their opening match of the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association women’s volleyball championships 25-17, 25-18 over the Capilano College Blues of North Vancouver.

However, the Blues regrouped and won the next two sets 25-15, 25-18 and led 14-13 in the fifth. But the Queens, led by middle Shelby Bramall, never let down and pulled out an 18-16 victory to advance into today’s 6 p.m. (EST) semifinal against B.C. champion Vancouver Island University Marineers of Nanaimo, who downed the Mount St. Vincent Mystics 3-1.

“It was a combination of things,” said Queens head coach Talbot Walton looking back at the Blues comeback. “They started serving better and didn’t miss like they were earlier and that put more pressure on us. Plus we didn’t pass as well and I think after taking a 2-0 lead we took our foot off the gas a bit.

“They looked a bit nervous early on and then when they started to come back we looked a bit nervous. However, to our credit the girls didn’t say die and stayed with it.”

The Blues jumped into a lead in the fifth set on what Walton considered some lucky bounces.

“They got a couple of breaks but (setter) Bronwyn (Hawkes) made a couple of very good plays and it seemed to turn the momentum around. Then we got a few breaks and were playing a much smoother game.”

Walton also inserted Bramall into the middle and she made a key kill, a big block and then served the winning point.

“We started Megan (Schmidt) in the middle to give us a bit more offence, but we wanted to change things up a bit and Shelby came in and gave us just what we needed.”

All-Canadian Amber Adolf, who is playing with a sore shoulder, was named the RDC player of the match with 11 kills and 36 digs.

As for the semifinal, Walton is looking forward to facing VIU.

“They’re obviously good, but I think they fit our system better than the Blues. The Blues did a good job of taking our outside hitters away, which we should be able to use more against VIU. I think our defence is more suited to play them as well, but we need to be focused and play better.”

Meanwhile, the Grande Prairie Wolves, who were seeded fifth, downed the fourth-seeded Humber Hawkes 25-19, 25-15, 25-16 and will face the No, 1 ranked Garneau Elans of Quebec City. The Elans downed the host Seneca Sting 3-1.

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