The RDC Queens dropped a five-set match to the Fanshawe Falcons in the CCAA Women’s Volleyball national quarter-final on Thursday in Quebec. (Photo courtesy of CCAA)

RDC Queens fall in five-set heartbreaker at volleyball nationals

The RDC Queens didn’t quite have their best to open the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association Women’s Volleyball Championship.

In a tight quarter-final match Thursday, it was the Fanshawe Falcons who managed to oust the Queens with a massive five-set victory (28-26, 23-25, 22-25, 25-15, 15-11) in Quebec.

The Queens lost the first set in heartbreaking fashion, then bounced back with wins in sets two and three, before faltering in set four. In the fifth set, RDC led 8-6 before eventually falling in the fifth.

“I think we missed an opportunity for sure,” said Queens head coach Talbot Walton.

“We were up 24-21 in the first set and we were up two sets to one. We were unable to respond with the right play at the right time. Get that critical point or that critical side out that we needed to win the game or stop a run. I really hope we learn a lot from it.

“It’s the first opportunity for us to be at nationals in a long time. In terms of meeting our expectations, I don’t think we were quite there today and hopefully, that fuels us the rest of the weekend.”

As expected, the two-time Ontario Colleges Athletic Association player of the year Janelle Albert was a force for the Falcons, collecting a match-high 27 kills on 69 opportunities. RDC knew heading into the match they would have to try and shut down Albert but were just unable to do so.

“We got a little soft in the fourth set. Too many free balls and or don’t hit it hard enough. Eventually, they were going to set the ball to Janelle Albert, she was a very good player today. Better than anyone we had in the ACAC season,” Walton said.

“There’s only so much you can do against a player of that calibre. Can’t really shut her down, she’s going to find ways. She has a great toolbox of shots. We did a good job on the rest of the team. Just couldn’t quite get enough of her as often as we wanted to change her style of play.”

Tess Pearman had 19 kills to lead the way for RDC, while Emma Holmes had 10. Queens rookie setter Emma Letkeman had 44 assists, outpaced by Falcons setter Ashley Rafferty, who had 51. She was player of the game for Fanshawe. McKenna Olson had seven kills for the Queens and was player of the game.

The Queens will play the Lynx d’Edouard-Montpetit Friday afternoon in the consolation semifinal.

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