If there’s one thing the younger edition of the RDC Queens Alumni knows, it’s how to win.
The majority of the Alumni B (recent) squad played with the Queens provincial championship team two years ago and have played in the national finals.
That talent was evident as the Alumni squad downed the King’s University College Eagles 25-23, 21-25, 16-14 to win the annual Ramada Inn and Suites Wild Rose Classic college volleyball tournament at RDC Sunday afternoon.
“It was like living a dream again to be with all the girls who won the provincials and went to the nationals,” said middle blocker Mandy Carroll, “We have a lot of trust among us. It was a little messy the first game, but it didn’t take long to get back into the groove. I knew where Katie (Graves) was beside me and how Quinn (Schulzke) was going to set the ball. So we were comfortable.
“But we also didn’t take ourselves too seriously as we were out of practice. You could see that out there today as we made some mistakes we wouldn’t have made if we were playing regularly.”
Still they knew how to win.
“We made some smart plays because we are veterans . . . made some smart choices when we had to.”
The Alumni defence was especially sharp considering the only time most of them have played this season was this weekend.
“I was surprised at how good the defence was,” added Carroll. “Most of the time we did a good job of getting the ball up and chasing it down. And our blocking was good.”
The Alumni reached the final with a 25-19, 25-17 win over the Queens while the Eagles beat the Alumni (veterans) 25-18, 25-22.
“It was fun playing this year’s Queens,” said Carroll, who is an assistant coach with the RDC squad.
She said that by playing the younger players she saw some things she can help them with at practice.
“I saw some thing I can talk to Talbot (head coach Talbot Walton) about,” she said. “I saw some things when we put pressure on them and saw how they responded as a group and as individuals. There were things you simply can’t see in practice.”
Carroll, who works for the Scotties Tournament of Hearts committee, is looking forward to working with Walton and assistant coach Chris Wandler.
“It’s great that my work allows me to come out and I love learning more about the sport. Talbot is a great mentor and I coached with Chris with the U18 club team.”
Walton was glad to face the Alumni.
“It was good to see the Alumni and learn from them and for our players to realize how far they have to go . . . it will help them grow,” he said. “The girls see what they’ve done prior to college and now they see what they need to do to get to the next level. The Alumni showed them that, painfully so.”
Overall Walton liked what he saw from his troops this weekend, but is no closer to setting a starting lineup.
“I liked what I saw, but we’ll have to share the load. Some need time and an opportunity to play to get better and better. We have another five mo0]nths to be where we want to be.”
Concordia College won the B side title, beating Olds 25-15, 35-33. Olds downed Ambrosse University College of Calgary 25-18, 23-25, 15-12 in the semifinals while Concordia downed College of the Rockies from Cranbrook 2-1.
The RDC Kings host their annual Challenge Cup tournament this weekend. League play opens Oct. 28-29 at home against Briercrest.