Rode: After three years with SAIT Trojans, Kayser finding success with Red Deer College Queens

Chanelle Kayser didn’t move to Red Deer College strictly to play volleyball, but the Queens certainly benefitted by the move.

The 21-year-old setter played the last three seasons with the SAIT Trojans and was in the business program. After last year she decided to pursue a degree in nursing and RDC was a perfect fit.

“When I went to SAIT it was an opportunity to play volleyball and while I wasn’t sure what I wanted to take I felt business was always good to have,” she explained. “But after three years I felt it wasn’t my thing and I always wanted to pursue nursing so decided to come here where I could take nursing and still play volleyball.”

The nursing program isn’t easy to get into, but things worked out perfectly Kayser, who came up through the Calgary volleyball system and played high school at Centennial.

“I was wait-listed in the top 10 and then top 5 and some people dropped out and luckily I got in this year,” she said.

She first contacted former Queens head coach Talbot Walton when she decided to move.

“My initial discussions were with Talbot but when I found out Chris (Wandler) was coming in it didn’t change anything. I knew who he was and so he wasn’t a new face.”

Kayser came from one good program to another, which made for an easy transition.

“It’s nice I’m not sacrificing anything as both are good programs with good coaches.”

The biggest difference was that she was leaving a team where she was the starting setter to a team which also has veteran Ashley Fehr.

However the two have been a perfect fit.

“It’s been nice,” said Kayser. “Obviously you want to play but she’s a great setter and it’s best for the team with both of us sharing playing time. We bring different qualities so it’s a nice balance.”

Wandler agrees.

“They have their own styles which has been good for us. They don’t have big egos and if one of them is having a bad night we can put the other in and it doesn’t change how we look at either one of them.

“I told the team last night that we’re fortunate to have depth and one positions we’re deepest at is at setter. I feel we’re the deepest at that position in the province and maybe the country, especially with the experience we have there.”

Kayser, who is second in the all-time in assists in the ACAC, knows what her strengths are.

“I bring a positive attitude and a calm demeanour,” she said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s going good or bad I try to conduct myself the same. I do have experience technically which is a benefit, but I still know I have things to work on.”

Kayser’s experience and demeanour allowed her to easily adjust to working with a new team.

“It’s been good to work with new faces and new hitters,” she said. “They have different styles which makes me a better setter … it challenges me which improves my game.”

And the nice thing is the five-foot-nine Kayser will be around next season.

“I have three more years in nursing but only one playing,” she said. “It will be good.”

Wandler, who will lose Fehr, is certainly pleased.

“Obviously she will bring a lot of experience and talent and will be a perfect mentor for Kelly (Heinemann).”

Heinemann is coming out of Harry Ainlay in Edmonton and has committed for next season.

Kayser will see some familiar faces this weekend as RDC takes on SAIT tonight in Calgary and Saturday at 6 p.m. at RDC.

Danny Rode is a retired Advocate reporter who can be reached at drode@bprda.wpengine.com. His work can also be seen at Danny’s blog at rdcathletics.ca

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