The Red Deer College Kings volleyball team has had a monster start to the season.
The Kings, who are currently sitting at the top of the ACAC’s South Division, are undefeated at 8-0 so far.
“To be 8-0 in the ACAC is always a good thing and we have two tough weekends coming up against Ambrose and Lethbridge and so we’re just trying to improve every weekend,” said Head Coach Aaron Schula.
So far this season, the RDC men’s team have had very few difficulties picking up wins. They’ve won five of their eight matches in straight sets, and had just one game go all the way to five.
But Schula said there is still work that needs to be done.
“I think we’re a pretty talented team. Our high end is very high but we’ve also been having way too many peaks and valleys throughout the year, or throughout matches, where our low end is still very low,” said Schula after the team’s 3-0 win over Olds College last Saturday.
To illustrate this, the coach pointed out one point in the third set of Saturday’s game against Olds. The team went down 8-3 to start off the set before having to come all the way back to win the set 25-17.
“I think that kind of shows the variance in the levels of play that we’re at right now, which still isn’t good enough,” he said, adding that while an 8-0 start is a good thing, there is always room for improvement.
“We’re trying to squeeze that together a little bit where our low end isn’t nearly as low and we’re giving up fewer runs.”
For Schula, the expectation for performance is always set high.
“My expectations are rarely different from year to year. It’s always to give ourselves a chance to win an ACAC championship and a CCAA championship,” he said, adding the main focus is always the nationals.
“For us it all starts with first contact. If we’re passing the ball and serving the ball well, we’re a pretty physical team so we can do a lot of damage at the net both offensively and defensively but we’ve got to look after the first contact piece and really work our tails off on defense.”
They’re currently ranked first in the ACAC in both Kills/Set and Blocks/Set thanks, in part, to the fact they have played just 28 sets through eight games, the lowest in the entire conference by far.
And of those 28 sets, the team has lost a grand total of four – one against Medicine Hat, one against Briercrest College, and two against SAIT.
The Kings have allowed the opposition to score a total of 513 points over 28 sets. That’s an average of 18.3 points per set. They’ve countered that, though, by scoring a total of 600 points.
“Our record right now is good. I don’t think we’ve played at that consistently high level yet but we definitely have some weapons and being able to rest some of those guys this weekend I think was really important for us going forward,” Schula said.
Only time will tell if the Kings will continue to be the offensive powerhouse they have been throughout the first eight matches.
On the other side of the court, the RDC Queens volleyball team has been struggling to gain a foothold this season.
The Queens are currently tied with Lethbridge College for fifth in the ACAC South Division with a 3-5 record so far this year.
“This season’s been a tough one for us so far,” said Head Coach Talbot Walton after the team picked up a 3-1 over Olds College last Saturday afternoon.
The defending Canadian champions had a tough schedule to start the season. After a couple of games against Medicine Hat College (4-6) to start the season, both of which they won, the Queens had a week off before they went up against the top two teams in the division with SAIT (6-2) and Briercrest (8-2) on back to back weekends.
“Especially with a new team, learning new systems, losing both those sets of games really set us back a lot,” Walton said.
And the challenges continued this weekend when they hosted Olds College, who are currently tied with SAIT for second in the division with a 6-2 record.
Friday night’s game was a hard fought battle. RDC won the first two sets 25-20 and 25-15 to jump out to an early 2-0 lead. It wouldn’t last, however, as Olds would come out and win three straight sets 25-14, 25-22 and 15-11 to claim a 3-2 victory.
RDC didn’t give up, though, and came back the very next day on their home court to claim a 3-1 victory and snap a five-game losing skid.
“We’re close and we’re getting better and better and hopefully now we’re at that point where we can start to turn the corner and really start to play good volleyball again,” Walton said, adding the team still has a lot to work on.
“That’s what our focus will be on is just trying to improve our level of play and just trying to take care of the little things.”