Queens 3 Clippers 1
The last time the RDC Queens faced the Briercrest Bible College Clippers it was early in the season and on the road in Caronport, Sask.
The Queens aren’t the same team that lost 3-1 and 3-0 in Alberta Colleges Women’s Volleyball League play to the Clippers back in November.
“It was early and we weren’t ready for that calibre of a team,” said Queens head coach Talbot Walton following a 24-26, 27-25, 25-23, 25-23 victory over BBC before a near full house at RDC Friday.
“Some may be excited that we won, but in reality that’s how much we’ve improved. It was a big learning curve for us. We have nine new bodies and they had to learn each other and learn our system. That takes time.”
Queens setter Meagan Kuzyk, who transferred in from NAIT, was one of those new players who had to adjust to a new team and players.
“It takes a little time,” she said. “For myself every hitter likes something different and I had to get to know that and it showed.”
The Queens passing has also improve considerably, as has their overall defence.
“We’ve been working a lot on that in practice and the level has gone up,” said Kuzyk, who was the RDC player of the game with two kills, five aces, 10 digs, a block and 38 assists.
“Our defence has been working hard and the passing certainly helps me to run the offence with a better tempo.”
The win gave the Queens a 10-5 record with BBC at 13-4.
“We came into this match looking to protect home court,” said Kuzyk. “We had nothing to lose and we came out and played as a team … we came together.”
The Queens trailed in both the first two sets only to come from behind. A questionable non-call with the score tied at 24 in the first set may have cost them the set, but they shock off the setback and were steady the rest of the way. As well the Clippers showed why they are ranked No. 4 in Canada as they refused to give in even when they fell behind in the third and fourth sets, consistently coming back to make things interesting.
“They have a good offence and generate a lot of confidence off that,” said Walton. “It was important for us to be able to deal with that.”
The Queens also got a strong performance from their left side with Kelsey Tymkow and Jessica Jones starting and Miranda Dawe coming in in the second set for Jones.
Dawe, who is one of the top players in the conference, played a key role in the victory both at the net and on defence. She made several outstanding defensive players in the third and fourth sets.
“Miranda was in a bit of a slump over Christmas, but she’s working her way out of it and tonight played at the level we expect her to play,” said Walton.
Tymkow was also outstanding, finishing with 17 kills and 14 digs while Dawe had six kills, nine digs and two aces. Hanna Delemont finished with six kills and McKenna Barthel had four kills and 10 digs and former Clipper Whitney Zylstra five kills, two aces, three digs and three blocks.
All-Canadian Samantha Zacharias led the Clippers with 18 kills, three aces and 14 digs while Kathleen Bruce had 11 kills. Queens are also playing without middle blocker Taylor Wickman, who is their leading blocker, and veteran Lauren Marshall.
Kings 3 Clippers 1
What looked like an easy walk in the park turned out to be battle before the Kings downed the Clippers 25-16, 25-14, 24-26, 25-21.
Kings head coach Aaron Schulha went to his bench in the third set, as did BBC coach Nigel Mullan. The move seemed to help BBC more than the Kings who lost their momentum.
On the other hand the Clippers started playing more like Schulha expected.
“They’re fighting for their playoff lives and that team on the other side of the net the first two sets was not indicative of the type of team they have,” Schulha said. “They started to hit tougher serves and we didn’t serve receive as well and made some errors. But they dug the heck out of the ball and showed the type of team they do have. They’re scrappy and won’t go away. I expect to see that team tomorrow (today).”
Schulha talked to his players in the third set about what to expect from the Clippers but for some reason “we seemed a bit surprised.”
Schulha put his starters back in in the fourth set and they also had a battle on their hands before putting it away.
Regan Fathers led the Kings with 12 kills and five aces while Riley Friesen had 11 kills, four digs and there blocks and Matt Lofgren contributed eight kills and six digs. Libero Michael Sumner had 13 digs and setter Luke Brisbane was the player of the game with a kill, an ace, a block, eight digs and 42 assists. Taylor Klassen had 12 kills for BBC. Teams meet again today with the women getting underway at 1 p.m., followed by the men.
Danny Rode is a retired Advocate reporter who can be reached at email@example.com. His work can also be seen at www.rdc.ab.ca/athleticsblog.