Both Red Deer College volleyball teams are headed into the national finals with a boatload of confidence which is not surprising as the Kings and Queens were the dominant teams all year in the ACAC and practice last week for both teams saw the players very relaxed.
“I think it’s great,” said Queens Coach Talbot Walton. “I was pretty surprised to see them that energetic at the start of practice.”
Kings head man Aaron Schulha agreed.
“I think that’s this group of guys,” said about his charges. “They’re loose and they’re having a good time before practice but as soon as it starts the focus is there.”
Walton said coming out of the ACAC championships he feels the Queens need to have the strong belief in the style of game they play moving forward.
“We made the other team play at our rhythm and our tempo and when we make that happen we get opportunities to score.”
Schulha said the Kings’ coaching staff will centre on ways they can improve on what they’ve done to get to this point.
“We have some talent on this team but we’ll look for ways to fine tune things so we are that much tougher to beat.”
Both squads head into the CCAAs with gold on their minds and the wild card in the mix is the fact they will face teams they’ve not faced before.
The exception for the Kings is the fact ACAC member Briercrest is hosting the tournament and the Queens could see Grande Prairie at some point.
So the task ahead is making sure their players can make the adjustments needed from game to game against an unknown opponent.
“My three assistant coaches are very good at recognizing in-game changes that we need to make,” Schulha said. “But as well, the veteran guys we have on the floor, they seem to pick things up awfully quick.”
Walton said the changes the Queens might make in games against ACAC opponents are very small in comparison to the ones needed to be successful at the national championships.
“When you play against teams like B.C. for example, they do a few things that are a little bit different and you have to be able to make those adaptations on the fly.”
The Queens head east to Seneca College in Toronto where they face the Capilano Blues from B.C. and the Kings will take on the Cheminots de Saint-Jerome from the Quebec conference in the first match at the venue in Moose Jaw.