It took a little time for Makenzie Quinn to feel comfortable in her role with the RDC Queens volleyball team this season.
She knew coming into the season she’d likely start on the left side along with Brooke Sutter, but an ankle injury in the preseason set her back.
“Plus I injured an ankle just before Christmas, so I’m just a big band-aid right now,” she said with a smile showing the wraps on her ankles and hands.
Quinn said the preseason injury was a setback.
“Definitely. It hurt as my jump was back to square one and I didn’t have as many ball touches as I would have liked,” she said. “So really my season has been up and down. This semester has been more consistent than the first one, plus we’re coming together as a team.”
Queens head coach Talbot Walton likes where the second-year Notre Dame grad is at.
“Mak has had a decent season,” he said. “Last year in the role we were using her we told her not to worry about anything just play and she did a good job. This year she had a new set of shoes to fill and the expectations she put on herself were beyond the realistic realm of what we needed her to do. It took a while for her to find that comfort zone. Now that she’s found it she’s playing above the level she was at at the provincials last year.”
Quinn has always had a strong arm and an impressive hitter.
“Hitting has always been my strong point and I always enjoyed it and it came naturally to me, more than other points of the game.”
But she worked hard on the defensive side and is now one of the Queens most consistent passers.
“She’s got a good touch,” said Walton. “It seems like the ball always finds a way off her arms or body into a good spot. She doesn’t make many errors digging or hitting. We feel comfortable when she’s touching the ball.”
Quinn said she has a good rivalry with Sutter when it comes to playing the game and that helps both develop.
“Brooke is more of a defensive player and I’m more of a hitter and we push each other to be better in both,” Quinn said. “We were beach partners and so work well together.”
The addition of veteran right side Jaclyn Neufeld at Christmas has also helped Quinn and Sutter.
“She’s very consistent and has a lot of experience, plus with her out there it balances things off and they’re (opposition) not keying on our side.”
As a second-year player Quinn is expected to provide leadership.
“Last year we had a lot of experience while this year we’re younger and I have to step into more of a leadership role. Last year I was able to sit back and watch how everything worked. There’s more pressure this year, but I like it for the most part.”
The Queens, 10-6, have four games remaining — home-and-home against The University of Alberta, Augustana and NAIT — and a sweep will give them fourth place.
They’re coming off a two-match sweep of the Wolves in Grande Prairie where they put on display their new defence.
“We’re focusing more on passing and defence,” said Quinn. “After (touring) Japan we realized that was the concept we needed to work on. We’re a little shorter team and that helps us be more consistent.”
Quinn is taking Fine Arts and will move on after this season.
“I’m looking at possibly going to Toronto or Mount Royal (University) but I probably won’t play volleyball.”
RDC visits Camrose Friday and are at home against the Vikings Saturday with the women starting at 6 p.m. and the men to follow.
• The basketball squads host Mount Royal Friday with the women tipping off at 6 p.m. and the men to follow.
• The hockey Queens face Mount Royal in a home-and-home series — Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Arena and Friday in Calgary. Queens need at least a split to keep playoff hopes alive.
• The badminton team is at the fourth tournament of the season at Concordia University College in Edmonton Saturday and Sunday.
• The curling teams will be at the second ACAC tournament of the season, hosted by Grant MacEwan at Leduc Friday to Sunday.
• Basketball dominated the Boston Pizza RDC athletes of the week.
Rob Pierce took the men’s award after accumulating 61 points and 27 rebounds in a two-game sweep over Lethbridge.
Erin Wiersma was the top female as she had 28 points and 20 rebounds against Lethbridge.