RDC Kings volleyball win opening match at ACAC Championships

Queens also advance to semis

The RDC Kings have carried their momentum into the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference men’s volleyball Championships.

After rattling off 10 straight wins to round out the regular season, the Kings got started right where they left off Thursday in Lethbridge.

RDC picked up a four-set win (25-20, 25-10, 23-25, 25-20) over the King’s University Eagles in the opening game of the provincial championships.

In the first two sets, the Kings got mostly what they needed on offence, putting up an over 0.600 per cent hitting percentage through two.

They stumbled a bit in sets three and four but had enough firepower to collect the victory.

“The first two sets were about as smooth as we could have hoped for and we did everything that we wanted to do, in terms of coming out of the gate fast and put them in a lot of service trouble,” said Kings head coach Aaron Schuhla.

“I thought in the third, we were in control as well, we were up 17-13. They had a guy go back and hit some quality serves. It was our attack choices and errors that allowed them to gain some momentum… the match overall had everything we needed out of the first match, in terms of playing really well for long stretches and going through some adversity.”

Fourth-year Australian outside hitter Patrik Toze led the way for the Kings with 17 kills and only four errors in the win. He was the Kings player of the game and also had three aces and four digs in the win.

Ben Holmes, in his final season with the Kings, had 11 kills, while ACAC South Rookie of the Year Carter Hills chipped in 10.

“Ben was really steady on the recieve end and figured out his serve a little as well. We had a favourable matchup with him on the attacking end of things,” said Schulha.

“Tom did a good job of getting some quality one-on-ones or one-on-O opportunities. Pat was really steay again, putting up big numbers.”

Setter Tom Wass collected 36 assists for the Kings.

The Kings will play a familiar opponent in the semifinal Friday at 6 p.m., as the fourth-ranked Briercrest College Clippers knocked off the top-seeded north division NAIT Ooks Thursday.

RDC won three of four matches against the Clippers this season. If the Kings hope to advance to the ACAC Championship final, they will have to find a way to stop Clippers hitter Karym Coleman, who was ACAC player of the year. Bryton Codd is the other major piece of the Briercrest attack that the Kings have to limit.

“I don’t think at this point we really need to change much,” said Schulha.

“We’ve focused on the last two weekends in particular, so Briercrest and Medicine Hat, just in terms of if we look after the ball and we are executing at a high level on our side, the results should look after themselves.”

The RDC Queens also advanced to the ACAC Championship semifinals Thursday, winning in three sets (25-18, 25-22, 25-16) over the Lakeland College Rustlers.

Fourth-year Queens outside hitter Erin Neufeldt led the way in the sweep for RDC with 12 kills. Second-year Emma Holmes of Red Deer was also big in the match with 11 kills.

Ponoka’s Tess Pearman chipped in nine kills to help the Queens in the win while reigning ACAC South Rookie of the Year setter Emma Letkeman had 29 assists. Letkeman was player of the match for RDC.

RDC will take on the University of Alberta-Augustana Friday night in the semifinal.

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