This year’s version of the Red Deer College Queens will have the same lofty goal as teams of the past have had and that is to continue to be a contender in the ACAC.
“They know what’s expected,” said Head Coach Talbot Walton. “They know one thing about Queens’ volleyball and is that we’re going to be a contender each season.”
There are 16 members of the team this year with Brooke Sutter leading the way as a four-year veteran with Karrisa Kuhr and Shelby Bramall right behind with three years of experience.
The remaining 13 are a mix of first and second year Queens who Walton said are key to the continuing development of the program by providing the depth which allows them to be so competitive.
ACAC teams hold onto their athletes three or four years before they graduate so all of a sudden the leaders you have this year need to be replaced, he said.
“What we do with those first year athletes in turning them into players in their second season, they have to be ready in their second season and start to contribute on the floor.”
He figures there is a good balance to the Queens this season with a good returning core including Bramall who expects to take a leadership role given her experience.
“I think I need to be more calm on the court, more collected,” she said. “I think we need to have practices transfer more over to games.”
Walton said the Queens will be changing the style of play this season as compared to years past due to the personnel he can put on the floor.
He’s looking for them to be a more offensive-minded team so when opportunities to score points arise they capitalize on them more often than not.
“That becomes an issue on first contact. We talked about our setters getting the ball to a good hitting location and then our hitters finding a way to score when they get those sort of green light situations to win a point.”
Last year the Queens got off to a rocky start, losing their first two matches but rallied to run off a streak of 18 wins in a row.
This year’s start is the opposite as the Queens swept Medicine Hat and Olds College letting the rest of the ACAC know the Queens are a contender once again.