Kings 3 Trojans 0 (best-of-five match)
The RDC Kings made a strong statement in their home gym on Friday.
After going 2-2 on a four-match road trip, the Kings returned home with renewed confidence against the SAIT Trojans.
RDC proved they will be a force in the second half of the season, knocking off the top-ranked Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference south division Trojans in a three-set sweep (26-24, 25-17, 25-20).
“We’ve been talking the last couple weeks about making a statement. We’re capable of it. We’re so Jekyll and Hyde, just up and down. Good on one night, bad on the next. A couple of tough road games the last few weekends, too,” said interim coach Blake Henwood, who took over the duties for Keith Hansen.
“Guys were looking forward to coming back into this gym and playing SAIT. Statement for sure, but we gotta follow it up (Saturday) with a performance the same, if not better. We know they’re going to play better.”
Tough serving and a balanced attack was the key in the win for the Kings, as five hitters had at least five kills for the Kings. First-year Carter Hills led the way for RDC with 10 kills, Ben Holmes chipped in eight and Patrik Toze notched three of the teams’ seven aces in the victory.
“I loved the way we served. We got some weapons from the service line but we just haven’t been able to put a game together where all of them were firing at the same time,” Henwood said.
“A lot of rough spots on the road the last couple weekends, where we missed two or three in a row and it kind of takes the life right out of us. Pat Toze did an awesome job, just setting the tone, Cater (Hills) did a great job and Ben Holmes, I’m not sure he missed one. Just a nice, refreshing moment for us.”
Kings setter Tom Wass looked confident and calm all night long, he dropped 28 assists to win player of the game honours.
“Tom’s a great athlete. Sometimes I think he struggles with his own confidence. Coming into a match against one of the best setters in Canada, on SAIT, I think maybe he took it a bit personal and thought you know what? I can hang with this guy and outplay him,” Henwood said of his setter.
“I definitely think he outplayed him. He made some great choices and some tight passes at the net that he was able to find our hitters and get some one-on-one blocks. He just looked like he was real comfortable.”
Trojans setter Maddux had 25 assists in the match and Riley Grusing led the way for SAIT with 14 kills.
The Kings will finish the first half Saturday in Calgary against the Trojans.