Red Deer College’s Luke Brisbane

Kings de-throned, lose bronze medal game

It was always going to be all or nothing for the Red Deer College Kings men’s volleyball team this year. Despite carrying a No. 4 seed into the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association championships, the defending champions were still arguably the favourite.

Knights 3 Kings 1

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — It was always going to be all or nothing for the Red Deer College Kings men’s volleyball team this year.

Despite carrying a No. 4 seed into the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association championships, the defending champions were still arguably the favourite.

But then they lost all-Canadian power Tim Finnigan in the national semifinal and never recovered, losing 3-1 (23-25, 25-22, 25-22, 25-13) to the Niagara College Knights in the bronze medal semifinal on Saturday morning.

“(Going for bronze) is always a hard discussion to have with your team, especially as a team that came here with one goal in mind and that was to win the whole thing,” said Kings head coach Aaron Schulha.

The Kings did appear to respond well to losing the national semifinal to Victoria’s Camosun Chargers and their fifth-year captain on Friday night. They rallied to win the first set, but were unable to maintain the momentum and eventually ran out of gas against the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association champions.

Without Finnigan, the Kings leaned heavily on veteran power Nic Dubinsky who led RDC in kills for a second straight match with 16 while adding seven digs and three block assists.

He turned out to be a prudent pickup for Schulha at Christmas time. While overshadowed by the emergence of the Aussie trio — Luke Brisbane, Adam Turlejski and Regan Fathers — he has played his support role flawlessly. Then when called upon to take the reigns, the former ACAC second team all-Conference selection showed he was capable of doing that as well.

“As soon as Tim went down, Nic … took the team on his shoulders and started to provide that older energy and was demanding of the ball, and I think that’s an important lesson for our younger guys moving forward,” said Schulha. “He meant a whole lot. If we had been able to squeak it out (Friday) it would have had a whole lot to do with him.”

Brisbane, who was named the CCAA player of the year as a rookie, finished with 32 assists, five digs and three kills while Fathers had eight kills and 10 digs. The Kings were also without Turlejski who injured his knees in the loss to Camosun.

Dubinsky was named a first team all-star for the tournament while Brisbane was named to the second team.

The Kings, however, will be loaded for next year.

They will be built around the three Aussies while a number of core players like Dubinsky, Kashtin De Souza and Patrick McIntyre should be back with a lot of emerging young talent in reserve.

The foundation for that team was laid this year, in particular by the efforts and leadership provided by Finnigan, who may be back next year as an assistant coach as he finishes up his degree.

“Leadership-wise these guys have been able to learn from Tim and the culture that he brought back to this program,” said Schulha. “Our program has always been relevant, but we had that spell where we weren’t getting back to nationals or getting to where we wanted. For Tim to have his three years with us where we were in the national final for two and there for this one, it means a lot. I think guys have learned a whole ton from him and are able to move that forward with the team culture.”

NOTES — The Chargers won the CCAA championship 3-2 (25-21, 22-25, 25-17, 15-5) over the Titans de Limoilou. Niagara beat the St. Clair Saints 3-0 (25-23, 25-21, 25-15) for bronze.

jaldrich@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Cruel and sadistic: Central Alberta dog rescuers believe there are dog fighting rings in province

With the increased number of stolen dogs, some central Alberta rescuers are… Continue reading

UPDATED: “I want to be your premier again”: Rachel Notley

Premier Rachel Notley makes announcement on Tuesday morning

Mixed Nuts revue presented Saturday to kick off first Carole Forhan Theatrical Scholarship

Broadway songs, comedy skits are part of the Red Deer Players production

Skunks smells are in the air in Red Deer

Medicine River Wildlife Centre receiving calls

Camper found in good health at Pinto Lake

Rocky Mountain House Search and Rescue respond

WATCH: Celebrating francophone Canadians at the 10th annual Red Deer Winter Carnival

The event was hosted by the Red Deer region of the French-Canadian Association of Alberta Saturday

Photos: Three moose spotted in Red Deer Tuesday

Three moose were spotted in Red Deer Tuesday morning. Red Deer resident… Continue reading

Andreescu rockets to No. 24 in WTA Tour rankings after Indian Wells title

Canada’s Bianca Andreescu has rocketed to No. 24 in the WTA Tour… Continue reading

Canadian figure skaters looking to reach new heights at world championships

Nam Nguyen, Alaine Chartrand and Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro all have… Continue reading

Man linked to largest art heist in history freed from prison

HARTFORD, Conn. — A reputed Connecticut mobster who federal authorities believe is… Continue reading

Florida Georgia Line, Glorious Sons headline concert series at Canadian Open

HAMILTON — Florida Georgia Line and the Glorious Sons will headline a… Continue reading

Family: Time to shed winter clothes and inhibitions

It has been a long, crazy cold winter. But, if the thermometer… Continue reading

Chelsea Carey rink registers two wins at world women’s curling event

SILKEBORG, Denmark — Canada’s Chelsea Carey rebounded nicely Sunday at the world… Continue reading

Canadian Bianca Andreescu has her first WTA title, winning BNP Paribas Open

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — Canadian Bianca Andreescu has her first WTA title.… Continue reading

Most Read