Kings 3 Lions 0
The Red Deer College Kings showed a good defence can be just as effective as a good offence in their 3-0 (25-18, 25-18, 25-11) win over the Ambrose University Lions on Friday at RDC.
While the No. 3 ranked men’s volleyball team in the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association showed plenty of power, their play at the net was most impressive, putting up 14 blocks. By comparison, the Lions had five blocks.
“Our group is starting to understand where our high end can be and that’s exciting for the group,” said Kings head coach Aaron Schulha. “You can see a lot of energy out there … I thought our block was as good as it’s been all year.”
Freshman Aussie import Adam Turlejski led the way for the Kings with five blocks in two sets, while chipping in with three kills and one dig, seeing limited time in the final set as Schulha went to the bench.
Turlejski has come a long way since the start of the season when he was one of the Kings depth players. Since Christmas he has been in the starting lineup at middle and has improved every week.
“He’s still very young but his learning curve is huge,” said Schulha. “Since Day 1 we knew he had a lot of pop in his arm and the attacking piece was all there, but he’s worked really hard on his block and that’s showing.”
Regan Fathers led the Kings with eight kills while Nic Dubinsky had seven. Setter Luke Brisbane had a game-high 24 assists.
The Kings also saw the return of all-Canadian power and team captain Tim Finnigan to the lineup after missing last weekend, battling a nagging leg injury. He played the entire game on Friday, finishing with five kills and a team-high six digs.
Schulha said there was some consideration made to letting him rest and get healthy for another week, looking to a bye and then a tough final four weeks of the season before playoffs, but it was more important to get him back in action to help build chemistry and rhythm.
“He’s itching to play, he’s a gamer and he’s our captain and he wants to be on the floor,” said Schulha. “He’s a fifth year guy and he’s running out of chances to play in our gym. As long as he’s healthy enough to play he’s going to be on the floor an awful lot for us.”
Queens 3 Lions 0
The RDC Queens showed what can happen when they lose their focus, even against the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference’s last place team.
The Queens rolled for the first set and a half against the Ambrose Lions, but the visitors got hot in the last half of the second set and then nearly won the third set. The Queens however managed to hang on for a 3-0 (25-16, 25-16, 26-24) win at RDC.
“Being up in that second set by quite a bit there, we definitely took our foot off a touch,” said Queens head coach Talbot Walton, “the momentum shifted over to the Lions, they played quite well and we never got over that hump even when we subbed in new people.”
The No. 1 nationally ranked Queens were led by Miranda Dawes with nine kills while player of the game Hanna Delmont had six kills and three digs in a rare start, playing in just her fifth match of the season.
The game was one of the few remaining opportunities for Walton to go deep into his bench — getting in Delmont, Megan Schmidt, Kendra Sorensen and Marisa Neufield for considerable lengths of time — with a tough final stretch before the post-season.
“Seeing them in action now was good for them,” said Walton.
RDC will complete the home-and-home series with Ambrose today in Calgary with the women starting at 6 p.m. with the men to follow.