RDC Kings take gold at Challenge Cup

RDC Kings couldn’t have asked for a better finish to the annual Service Plus Inns Challenge Cup men’s volleyball tournament.

Kings Black 3 Alumni 0

RDC Kings couldn’t have asked for a better finish to the annual Service Plus Inns Challenge Cup men’s volleyball tournament.

Not only did they get a chance to face their Alumni in the final, but they came away with a 26-24, 25-19, 25-19 victory at RDC Sunday afternoon.

“I know the Alumni won’t be happy, but I thought our guys were very consistent following the loss to King’s (University College on Friday),” said head coach Aaron Schulha, who was coaching the Kings Black team, which consisted of their veterans.

“We’ve been talking to them all along about consistency and we weren’t sure it was getting through to them, but I think it is. This was certainly a step in the right direction.”

The Kings Black reached the final with a 25-17, 29-27, 25-17 victory over Grande Prairie Wolves while the Alumni B squad stopped King’s University College 25-14, 25-18, 25-18.

Two members of the Alumni squad — setter Blake Henwood and libero Adam Sillery — are on the Kings coaching staff, which gave them a different outlook on the match.

“I caught myself watching the guys at times and seeing if they’re doing the things we’ve been talking to them about,” said Henwood. “It was good to play against them as you get a different perspective than when you’re on the bench.

“We would have liked a different outcome, but overall it was a lot of fun. This is a group we’ve been trying to get together for some time and it worked out OK,” said Henwood.

Schulha split his team in two this season to give everyone plenty of playing time and it couldn’t have worked any better.

“Everyone got a tremendous amount of playing time, which was exactly what we wanted,” said Schulha. “Evan (setter Evan Whitecotton) didn’t start the season with us, so he needed the work. We’ve been working on him to get his feet to the ball and he’s beginning to notice the quality of his sets when he does. This weekend helped in that.”

Meanwhile, the Kings Green team, which consisted of first-year players, except for second-year outsider hitters Trevor Gilles and Andy Inglis, finished fifth as they downed defending national champion Grant MacEwan University Griffins 25-20, 18-25, 25-21, 14-25, 15-13.

“It shows how deep our team is this year,” said Schulha. “The young guys are consistently pressing the veterans for a starting spot, which is exactly what you want.”

The Kings Green advanced to the fifth-place game with a 25-19, 25-23, 25-23 win over College of The Rockies from Cranbrook while Grant MacEwan downed Keyano.

The Kings Green win over the Griffins was one of the more emotional matches of the day.

“We played well and forced them to make some changes to their lineup and we still won,” said Green head coach Terence McMullen.

“The young guys showed a lot this weekend and learned a lot. They can look back on this and feel good about themselves and take that into the rest of the season.”

The RDC Alumni A team, which included RDC athletic director Gord Inglis, downed Augustana University of Camrose 25-19, 25-22, 24-26, 25-17 in the consolation final.

The Alumni downed Lakeland College of Lloydminster 25-21, 20-25, 23-25, 25-23, 16-14 in the semifinal.