The RDC Kings came up just short in Calgary.
After they easily swept away the SAIT Trojans Friday in Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference play, it was a much different test on the road.
In Calgary, it was the Trojans who eventually outlasted the Kings in a crazy, back and forth five-set thriller.
SAIT took the first set 25-20 but the Kings stormed back with wins in sets two and three (25-23, 25-22). SAIT forced a fifth set with a 25-18 win in the fourth.
That set up the drama in the fifth, in which SAIT had five set points with a chance to close out the match. RDC trailed 14-10 but battled back to tie the game at 14. Tom Wass missed a serve with the game tied, then the Trojans also missed. Eventually, the Trojans won consecutive points and took the set 19-17 to win the match.
Kings fifth-year outside hitter Regan Fathers had 19 kills in the match to only be outduelled by Trojans Jarrett Noel who had 20. Ben Holmes also had a strong game with 12 kills.
In their final home game of the regular season Friday, the Kings also honoured four graduating players in Fathers, Turlejski, Ryan Beatson and Chris Petersen.
“It’s hard, you get used to having guys around. Regan and Adam, especially that have been here four and five years and have been such important pieces to the program,” Schulha said.
“For them to be key pieces winning two more and putting this program back where it’s supposed to be, at the top of the country says a lot about those guys. They’re as good as people as they are volleyball players. Maybe they’ll end up back here.”
Fathers will go down as one of the all-time Kings. In four seasons the Australian outside hitter won back-to-back national championships and holds the RDC all-time record for kills and aces. He is expected to play pro in Europe next season.
For Petersen and Beatson, two Red Deer kids playing their hometown school was something special according to the Kings coach.
“Ryan, for us to bring him back at Christmas, he’s a great team guy and competitor,” he said.
“Petersen, it’s nice to have Red Deer guys as well. To be able to finish their career here, for the home team that they grew up watching is a pretty cool thing.”
Also departing are Tristan Simmonds, Steven Keating and Paul Meanie.
The Kings head to Lethbridge for a pair of matches against the undefeated Kodiaks (20-0) next weekend. RDC is currently second in the ACAC south with a 16-6 record, four points up on the third-place Trojans.