Queens 3 Lions 0
After breaking her finger in the preseason McKenna Barthel wasn’t expected back in the RDC volleyball Queens lineup until the second half of the season.
But the third-year right side is a quick healer and returned this weekend against the Ambrose University Lions.
She played Friday in Calgary and started at home Saturday as the Queens downed the Lions 25-21, 25-23, 25-12 in Alberta Colleges Women’s Volleyball League play.
“It was nice to be back,” she said. “The doctor told me when it happened I’d likely be out eight to 10 weeks, but this is week five.
“It’s good I don’t feel any pain.”
She broke the right middle finger when she dropped a bottle of water under a car and while reaching for it had the tire run over her hand. She uses a splint and a wrap while playing.
“The scariest thing is blocking, but I do use a splint and try not to think about it.”
The Lindsay Thurber grad indicated she’s a bit behind in terms of preparation after sitting out, but it’s “not bad.”
“I’ve been practising a bit and was out for the full week this past week. That helps. Even before I was working out and passing the ball at practice, so it wasn’t as long of a break as it could have been. The nice thing is I got a chance to return before the Christmas break. That would have been a long time away if I was out another five weeks.”
Queens head coach Chris Wandler was pleased to have Barthel back.
“She gives us more depth and more physicality on the right side,” he said. “Brittney (Davis) did an admirable job filling in but the setters are more comfortable with our regulars out there. Once McKenna gets up to speed and back in game shape she’ll be that much better. Even now she helps solidify us.”
Barthel finished with seven kills and six digs.
Davis can now move back to her more familiar spot on the left side and Saturday she came in off the bench in the second set and added a spark to the lineup, with four kills, a block and eight digs.
“We ran out of time outs in the second set and we were able to bring Britt and Hanna (Delemont) in and they added a spark and helped us pull out the win,” said Wandler.
The Queens ran into a tough Ambrose squad the first two sets.
“They are a good serving and defending team and tonight they were a good passing team as well. They put the ball in the system more than we would have liked. They pushed us to the limits at times and in that first set we got caught running around and lost our composure a bit. But we finally found it and found a way to win, the same in the second set. The third set I think we had knocked the wind out of their sails.”
Miranda Dawe had another solid performance with 13 kills, three aces, a block and five digs. Setter Ashley Fehr was the player of the match with 26 assists, six aces and four digs. Madyson Kerr had nine kills and eight digs for Ambrose.
The Queens finished the first half of the season with a 9-3 record, back of Briercrest, 9-1. Ambrose is 4-6.
Kings 3 Lions 0
The Kings wrapped up first place at the break, running their record to 10-2 with a 25-13, 25-22, 25-19 victory.
“It’s been a long first half, especially with no bye until the last week,” said Kings head coach Aaron Schulha. “It was tough sledding the past six weeks, but we’re 10-2, which is OK. We could have had two more wins, but we’ve been grinding through matches, which is good. We’re learning how to win when not at our best. There’s a lot of room to grow in the second half which excites me.”
As for Saturday, the Kings were solid, although they looked like they were a bit anxious to get the match over with in the third set.
“The first half we played well, then let them in it a bit in the second set and the third was sloppy,” said Schulha, whose squad will now be off until they train with the University of Calgary Dinos Dec. 29-30.
Regan Fathers had 12 kills, an ace, three blocks and two digs for the Kings while Luke Brisbane had 28 assists, two blocks and two digs. Ty Moorman and Matt Lofgren had seven kills each. Curtis Dyck and Keaton Strom had 10 kills apiece for the Lions.