The Red Deer College Kings and Queens competed at their respective ACAC Volleyball Championships last weekend, but they saw two very different results.
“We played at a fairly consistently high level. We had one pretty poorly played set in the third set there of the final but other than that we played pretty clean throughout the weekend,” said Kings Head Coach Aaron Schulha, whose team came away from their championship tournament at NAIT with the gold medal and a plane ticket to the CCAA National Championship at Douglas College in New Westminster, B.C. in two weeks.
As the number one ranked team in Canada going into the provincial tournament, the Kings were the odds on favourites to win the provincial crown, and they didn’t disappoint.
The tournament kicked off last Friday with the Kings facing off against the hosting NAIT Ooks, who came into the tourney in eighth place overall.
Right from the start, it was obvious why the Kings are number one in the country as they blew past NAIT in straight sets, winning 25-21, 25-20, and 25-22. But the Ooks were just a warm up for the Kings, who lost just two sets the entire weekend, as their first win of the weekend set up a rematch of the 2015 ACAC Championship gold medal game, during which the Kings fell to the U of A- Augustana Vikings by just two points.
“We have quite a few guys back from last year, so for a lot of those guys it was great in terms of them being able to kind of make up for the sting of last year,” said Schulha.
This year’s rematch with Augustana went a little different than last year’s championship game as the Kings defeated the Vikings 3-0 (25-20, 25-23, 25-17) to claim their spot in Saturday’s final for the third year in a row.
With the stage set for the final match between the Kings, the number one seed in the South, and the Keyano College Huskies, the number one seed in the North.
RDC got off to a good start with a quick 25-19 victory in the first set and followed that up by knocking down five straight points to win the second set 25-23. The third set, Schulha said, was the only shaky one they had all weekend and the Huskies took advantage of a couple of unforced errors to win 25-17.
But Red Deer would not be denied. They quickly found the form that had earned them a 23-1 regular season record and overpowered Keyano 25-12 to secure the 3-1 victory and the provincial championship.
With the win, RDC heads into their third straight CCAA championship with a full head of steam and a serious chance to come home with a national title.
When RDC went to the national tournament last season as the ACAC silver medal team, they came up short against 2015 champions Camosun College in the semi-final, but Schulha said they’re aiming to do much better this year.
The Kings will head out for the West Coast next Tuesday and will play their first game of the championships on March 10th.
Meanwhile, it was a good weekend of volleyball for the RDC Queens, who hosted the ACAC Women’s Volleyball Championship in the College gym last weekend.
The Queens finished the tournament with a 2-1 record, though their loss came in Thursday’s quarter final match against the GPRC Wolves.
The Wolves downed the Queens 3-2 (25-22, 26-24, 24-26, 14-25, 15-10), which left them out of the running for the gold medal.
However, the Queens finished strong, defeating Keyano College 3-1 (25-14, 16-25, 25-22, 25-15) and Olds College 3-2 (18-25, 25-19, 21-25, 25-13, 15-11) to finish fifth overall.