RDC volleyball squads make history

It’s never been done before but with history you just never know when a new chapter can be written and the Red Deer College volleyball teams authored their own entry into the books while in different provinces.

The Queens took care of a national championship in Ontario and the Kings followed suit by winning their gold medal in Saskatchewan.

In fact, during a timeout in their game the announcement was made about the Queens victory and Kings Coach Aaron Schulha said he was worried for a moment his boys would lose their focus but that never happened as they went on to beat the host team from Briercrest to put the cap on an incredible season.

“I knew we had a lot of talent at the beginning of the year and knew we were capable of winning it all,” said Schulha. “We actually saved our best volleyball for when it mattered the most.”

The Kings were wearing the black hats in the final against the hometown favourite and even the other teams in the tournament were wearing the Briercrest t-shirts so there was no love for RDC for the most part.

“We had blow horns going off right in the guys’ ears and there were drums behind the servers,” said Schulha about the hostile environment – but his bunch seemed to embrace the atmosphere and it just charged them up even more. “I think Braden (O’Toole) served an ace and turned around and gave them (the fans) a kind of smirk and it was like, bring it on.”

Meanwhile the Queens were facing Grande Prairie for bragging rights and Coach Talbot Walton figured his girls were right where they needed to be as one of the best teams in the country.

“The journey from how we outlined it was maybe a little cautious and realistic depending on how much we improved but in the end it was exactly what – well it was a great one.”

He will lose four key athletes from this team in the form of Brooke Sutter, Amber Adolf, Karrisa Kuhr and Shelby Bramall but he’s convinced this team will be in good standing when the season starts up again.

“Those first-year athletes that we had are very good athletes and they got to learn from some of the very best in the country and if they picked up anything along the way I know we’re going to be in the thick of things next year for sure.”

On the Kings side of the ledger, eight players are headed elsewhere with outstanding player Tim Finnigan a possibility of staying for one more season but Schulha says there are options to fill some very large shoes.

Another player headed out the door is setter Sam Brisbane who Schulha calls the best setter he has seen in his time as the coach with the Kings but Brisbane’s younger brother is expected to be in a Kings uniform next season.

“He’s also very good,” said Schulha. “In Sam’s words he says that Luke is actually better than him at that point coming out of high school.”

So even with some big changes for both squads the feeling is the programs have progressed to the point where good players will be attracted to RDC because of the solid programs waiting for them when they get here.

“It just tells us that we are doing the right thing as a group of coaches and these athletes have completely bought into the system that we’re trying to run,” said Schulha.

Walton echoed those words and points to the banners in the gym which show three provincial championships and now a national title over the past six years.

“Hopefully parents of athletes understand that their kid is coming to this program and is going to come away being part of something successful.”

Time to start writing another chapter in the history books.

sports@reddeerexpress.com

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