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RDP volleyball bids farewell to graduating players

Both teams to play in the ACAC championship
Red Deer Polytechnic Kings volleyball setter Maddux Greves hugs the men’s coaching staff Saturday afternoon during a ceremony honouring the team’s senior players at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre. (Photo by Ian Gustafson/ Advocate staff)

Queens 3 Wolves 0

Kings 3 Wolves 0

It was an emotional afternoon on Saturday for the Red Deer Polytechnic Queens and Kings volleyball teams.

As both teams concluded the Alberta Colleges Athletic Association (ACAC) regular season at home, RDP honoured their graduating seniors during a ceremony with each player receiving a plaque.

After the Queens defeated the Northwestern Polytechnic Wolves in three straight sets the Queens said farewell to seniors Sydney Rix and Kira Weddell.

Second-year Frankie Sandini was also awarded the Jon Walsh Memorial Queens Volleyball Scholarship for her commitment during the season.

Rix had a big game on Saturday in her final regular season game at home with seven kills, four digs, and one ace. She said it was an emotional day.

“These people are my family so when it comes to that it’s hard to give that up,” she explained. “They’re my friends for life and the coaches had an amazing impact on my life. They’ll never be forgotten that’s for sure.”

The Red Deer native said five years ago it was a no-brainer decision to commit to the Queens program after some teammates of hers from the Central Alberta Queens Volleyball Club decided to join.

Looking back at her years at RDP she said there is nothing but good memories.

“I’m super thankful for all the people volleyball brought into my life,” Rix added.

However, their season is far from over just yet as the Queens will host the ACAC Women’s Volleyball Championship on Feb. 23-25 at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre.

“Having all of our family and friends and all the people who have supported us all the way through to be able to come will be a really awesome experience,” she said. “I think we’re still going up. Our last few weeks of practice have definitely been our best and it’s definitely showing up in our game.”

To close out the regular season the Queens have won five straight games dating back to a 3-1 win over SAIT on Jan. 28. With the streak they moved into second place in the South Division.

Queens head coach Talbot Walton said honouring the players he’s coached for years was difficult.

“I’ve known Kira since she was a toddler. Sydney since I think she was 11 years old. They’re lifetime friends beyond volleyball,” he said.

“They’re incredible teammates, great friends, to everybody, and they make sure everyone feels included… They check all the boxes when it comes to being people and they definitely check all the boxes for being volleyball players.”

On the Kings’ side, fifth-year setter Maddux Greves is the only member of the men’s team who will be graduating at the season’s end.

Saturday was his final game in Red Deer as the Kings will head to the 2023 ACAC Men’s Volleyball Championship at Keyano College in a few weeks. He made the most of it and won player of the game honours after the Kings beat the Wolves 3-0.

Even though he’s only been a part of the program for two years after moving from the SAIT Trojans in Calgary, he said the experience was special.

“Red Deer’s meant a lot to me the last couple of years but to be honoured by this program with this team means a lot to me,” he said.

“I’m not letting myself feel the emotions yet because I got a lot more season to play but it’s just been awesome and I want to thank everyone in Red Deer.”

The Calgary native doesn’t regret moving to Central Alberta and this season it’s certainly paid off as the Kings finished the season in first place with the best regular season record in the ACAC.

“We’re eager to get [to the ACAC Championship] and we feel like we haven’t played our best volleyball,” he added.

Head coach of the Kings Aaron Schulha said every year this is always an emotional day.

“Greves’ has been outstanding. I recruited him for years, it took him a while to get here but he’s left a significant mark on the program,” Schulha said.

Schulha said Greves’ leadership has been outstanding and has been one of the top setters in Canada.

“He’s been a great ambassador for our program and we look forward to seeing what’s next for him. Hopefully it’s after a championship or two with us.”

Red Deer Polytechnic Queens volleyball senior Kira Weddell accepts a momento given to the graduating players of the volleyball teams during a ceremony at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre. (Photo by Ian Gustafson/ Advocate staff)
Red Deer Polytechnic Queens second-year libero Francesca Sandini won an award during a ceremony to honour the senior players Saturday afternoon at the Gary. W Harris Canada Games Centre. (Photo by Ian Gustafson/ Advocate staff)

Ian Gustafson

About the Author: Ian Gustafson

Ian began his journalism career as a reporter in Prince Albert, Sask. for the last three years, and was born and raised in Saskatchewan.
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