Kings 3 Titans 0 sets
The RDC Kings picked an opportune time to put it all together.
In their opening match of the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association Men’s Volleyball National Championships, RDC found its groove at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre.
They cruised past the defending champion Titans de Limoilou in front of a rowdy hometown crowd, with a three-set sweep (25-11, 25-21, 25-22) and are into the semifinal against the VIU Mariners Friday night.
Considering the Kings bowed out in the first round of the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference Provincial Championships just two weeks ago, the performance Thursday showed they are a contender once again for a national title.
“It feels amazing. Really nice with the home crowd. We had a rough go two weeks ago at provincials so it feels good to get the monkey off our back,” said RDC fifth-year middle Adam Turlejski.
— CCAA 🇨🇦 ACSC (@CCAAsportsACSC) March 8, 2019
Turlejski was featured early and often in the victory, to which the Titans had no answer. The Kings veteran was player of the match for RDC, as he finished with 12 kills and three stuff blocks. He said it’s as good as he has felt all season.
“Got into a good rhythm,” added Turlejski, who won national titles in 2016 and 2017 with the Kings.
“Tom (Wass) was doing a really good job finding me and we were passing lights out which was nice. My body was feeling good, it’s been troubling me a little bit. It worked, so pretty happy with that.”
Regan Fathers, who was named CCAA Player of the Year on Wednesday and has been the Kings go-to threat all season, had a game-high 14 kills. What Turlejski’s success allowed the home side to do was mix up their attack and not give so much volume to Fathers, who only needed 20 attempts to get his 14 kills.
“(Adam) looked really fresh and energized and he’s a different dynamic when he’s on the floor because he’s a big energy guy, too,” Kings head coach Aaron Schulha said.
“Whether it was 14 or 10 in their other middle spot, we knew they were going to be a little bit smaller and they had a couple smaller left sides versus Regan.
“We knew we had to exploit their middle and left side block. I thought we did that. That match came down a lot to serve and pass.”
The home side made a statement early, rolling over the Titans 25-11 in the first set. Schulha said that set the tone and settled some nerves for his group.
“You know that there’s going to be a pile of energy. There’s pressure,” the head coach added.
“We really reiterated that the last couple weeks, just embrace it. It’s going to be loud and they’re going to be on our side. Embrace it.”
Another key difference in the victory was the Kings’ service game. They picked up five aces and the Titans didn’t earn any in three sets.
“I think we were putting them in a lot of service trouble. Everybody played their role and we started off perfectly,” said Turlejski.
“We’ve had trouble starting hot and we just put them under service pressure and let our offence do its thing.”
For the Titans, James Chretien was player of the match with seven kills and four digs.
In the first match of the day, the Fanshawe Falcons swept the Holland Hurricanes (25-22, 25-21, 25-10) and the Keyano Huskies knocked off the Griffons de l’Outaouais in three sets (25-22, 25-21, 25-18). Fanshawe and the Huskies will play Friday in the other semifinal at 6 p.m.
RDC will play the VIU Mariners in the semifinal at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre at 8 p.m Friday.