The RDC Kings Volleyball team is heading into the Christmas break surrounded by sandy beaches. The Kings are participating in an all-Canadian tournament in San Diego starting Dec. 27th. The tournament runs until Jan. 3.
Head Coach Aaron Schulha explains, “It was brought to our attention two years ago by a coach from Vancouver Island University.” The tournament was once held in Vancouver. And why not? Vancouver ranks among the top cities in the world to live, year after year. However, some schools would rather have surf and sun over clouds and rain.
“A lot of the teams to pay to go to the west coast, they might as well pay the same amount to fly to California where they can enjoy the warm weather a bit more.”
This is Schulha’s fifth year as head coach of the Kings and although they currently sit in third place in the ACAC combined standings, he’s feeling very confident about this year’s squad. “I think we’re more of a complete team than over the last couple years.”
And why is that? Schulha attributes that to not having someone key on. They don’t have a Canadian Colleges Athletic Association Volleyball player of the year like, Mitch Irvine to rely on. And that’s a good thing.
“We’re a harder team to play against, just because we have more of a spread offence. We’ve committed to the defensive end of the game; we’re close to the league lead in total digs and digs per game,” he said. “It hasn’t been the case the last couple years.”
Two years ago the Kings were heavy favourites to go to nationals but lost in a match to MacEwan who was ranked eighth at the time. “MacEwan was not your usual number eight seed, they were still a very strong team.”
After losing that match Schulha doesn’t want to see a repeat. “We can’t afford for guys to be nervous you’ve got to approach every game like it’s a conference final, you’ve got to put that kind of pressure on yourself everyday so when the finals come, it’s not as nerve racking.”
The Kings have one big goal with some smaller goals along the way. “We want to win our conference and if we do that, we give our self a chance to win a national championship. That continues to be my goal and it continues to be the focus of our College.”
Along the lines of why they’re heading to San Diego for the Christmas break, Schulha says it’s all about team bonding; something that he’s hoping is the real strength of this year’s edition of RDC Kings Volleyball. “We’ve been together since September now so we have a pretty good idea what every guy is all about, but you get to know guys on a bit of a deeper level.”
As the Kings travel to San Diego this holiday season to play top teams from Quebec, B.C. and Ontario, they’ll be hoping this is a preview – a preview of a trip to Abbottsford, B.C., to where the Kings want to be in the spring, vying for the national title.