Rookie quickly fits into Queens volleyball lineup

It’s a scenario that happens all over the sports world.

It’s a scenario that happens all over the sports world.

A starting player goes down and his or her replacement steps in and runs with the opportunity.

That was the case last weekend for RDC volleyball Queens rookie middle blocker Shelby Bramall.

When third-year middle Danielle Newton injured her left ankle in the second set of the opening match against Briercrest Bible College Friday, Queens head coach Talbot Walton went with veteran Dani Val Alstyne.

But after the Queens lost the third set Walton decided it was time to see what Bramall could do.

All she did was step in and look like she belonged, helping the Queens win the match, which earned her a start on Saturday where she was named player of the match with 13 kills and five stuff blocks.

“It was a tough loss to have Dan go down, but you can’t let that stop you as a team,” said Bramall. “I knew I had some big shoes to fill, but I had to do what I had to do.”

Walton knew he had a talent when he recruited the five-foot-10 Sylvan Lake native.

“We knew she had a good sense for the game, jumped well and had good ball control,” he said.

“She’s not flashy in terms of burying the ball, but makes good decisions and has good timing.”

It wasn’t until Walton talked with Bramall last season that she decided to try out for the Queens.

“I wasn’t sure whether I’d play, but once they asked me I knew for sure I wanted to come here,” she said. “It’s worked out although I didn’t expect to get this much playing time this early.”

Bramall played soccer, basketball and ran track in high school along with volleyball. She played high school volleyball in Sylvan Lake and some club ball with Sylvan Lake and the Queens program.

“I came to Red Deer with the U15 program and played up to last season,” she explained.

Bramall played with several of the RDC Queens, including one year with setter Kirsten Sorensen. “There was always a natural connection between us,” she said.

That was evident as Sorensen consistently used Bramall on a step around play where she got the majority of her kills.

“The step around move usually doesn’t work that well as usually I’m not in position to hit it, but it was working and it opened a lot of doors for the rest of the team,” said Bramall, who also was strong blocking.

“That’s something I try to work on in practice and it consistently needs work,” she said with a smile. “But the thing is not to over think it. That makes it harder.”

Bramall credits two former Queens Club coaches — Chris Wandler and Mandy Carroll — for her development.

Both coach with the college team, although Wandler will be taking over as head coach of the Olds College Broncos women’s team next season.

Bramall is working on a Bachelor of Commerce and plans on being at RDC at least two years, possibly three, which suits Walton.

“She’s very coachable and is learning in a hurry,” he said. “It shows in that she was able to step up and play a big role for us (last weekend).”

Newton has a sprain with nothing torn or broken, although there’s no time table for her return.

The volleyball teams are on the road Friday and Saturday at Medicine Hat.

l The hockey Queens, 1-1-2, face the Grant MacEwan Griffins, 2-1-1, in a home-and-home series — Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Arena and Friday in Edmonton.

l The basketball squads return home after a dismal weekend in Medicine Hat where they both lost twice.

They face King’s University College Friday and Lakeland Saturday. Women tip off both days at 6 p.m. with the men to follow.

l Two-time ACAC cross-country running champion Jodi Sanguin was named the Boston Pizza RDC female athlete of the week while volleyball Kings power hitter Tucker Leinweber took the top male award.

Sanguin won the ACAC title by 40 seconds at SAIT during the weekend while Leinweber led the Kings to a weekend sweep of defending ACAC champion Briercrest.

The RDC Queens are ranked second in Canada in cross-country. The nationals go Nov. 12 in Kamloops.

drode@bprda.wpengine.com