Keating and the Kings crown Lions in four sets

Photo -Tony Hansen
Photo -Tony Hansen

Brent Forster - RDC

Saturday evening at RDC, the Red Deer College Kings Volleyball team faced the Ambrose University Lions, and the Kings used several offensive weapons in their four set victory. After the Lions tied the match at one set apiece, the RDC Kings capped off the match by winning the next two sets.

The Kings went up 4-3 off a stuff block in the first set and then they started to find their rhythm. They spread out their offence and cruised to a 25-14 win.

In the second set, the Ambrose University Lions pulled ahead by 6 points (21-15) and took advantage of some Kings' misses. RDC tried to pull back into the set from a stuff block by the Kings setter Thomas Wass and a kill by middle Mark DeWit, but the Lions grabbed the second set 25-22.

The RDC Kings hit the court with a purpose in the third set and stormed out to a 10-3 lead which forced Paul Armbruster, the Lions' Head Coach, to call a time-out.  RDC extended that margin to 9 points (17-8) from a Wass dump ball. The Kings had several strong defensive plays, and libero Isaiah Stime made an incredible one arm dig to keep the play alive on the Kings' 21st point. RDC eventually won 25-10 to pull ahead 2 sets to 1.

In the fourth set, Evan Parchomchuk gave the Kings a 7-3 lead off a powerful kill from the left. The Lions clawed their way back into the set and tied it up 16-16. Wass utilized Ben Holmes and Steven Keating effectively and the Kings won 25-23 to earn the match victory.

Aaron Schulha, head coach of the RDC Kings Volleyball team, credited the Lions for a hard fought match. "Ambrose played better than they did yesterday," said Schulha.  "They are scrappy to play against and are well coached."

Schulha wanted to see an increased level of aggressive blocking and he saw that in stretches tonight. "I saw more aggressive blocking in this match at times and we get that with Steve (Keating). He's a big jumper and has a good press," said Schulha. "We have some guys who aren't aggressive enough especially one-on-one. We will go back to the drawing board and make sure that is a focus for us in the next two weeks leading up to the match against SAIT."

The Kings will look forward to using their week off to help prepare for the SAIT Trojans. "The bye week is coming at a good time for us. We had a couple of tough weekends on the road and we played some pretty good volleyball at times this weekend," said Schulha. "There are still some consistency issues, but that is to be expected with two first-year setters and a lot of new faces. The next few weeks we can solidify a few things and SAIT is one of the top teams in the south, and they will be hungry."

Steven Keating was named the player-of-the-game for the RDC Kings while Keaton Strom received the award for the Ambrose University Lions. Keating, an outside hitter from Stony Plain, totaled 16 kills and 6 digs in the Kings' win. Strom picked up 12 kills and 3 digs for the Lions.

Keating is settling in nicely with the RDC Kings. "Steve is an effortless jumper and we don't see many of those players in our league. We played him on the left-side against Medicine Hat because we needed a left-side block, and he's been playing really well in practice," said Schulha. "He's making a case for himself that he needs to be on the floor, whether it is on the left-side or right-side. He's a different level of blocker and he brings a lot of energy. He's a very good team guy and he does what we ask."

Setter Thomas Wass accumulated 26 assists, 2 kills, 4 service aces, 7 digs and 1 stuff block for RDC. Ben Holmes contributed 10 kills, Mark DeWit had 7 and Adam Turlejski stacked up 6 for the Kings.

After the ten game mark of the season, Schulha has seen many positive signs but he would like to see more consistency. "When we show flashes of our A game it is pretty good and we can rival any team in the country," said Schulha. "But when we aren't playing well, and it's our C – game then it looks bad. We want to raise the level of our bottom end of play." 

The depth of the Kings will push the student-athletes to demonstrate a strong work ethic and a high level of execution for playing time. "We have a lot of internal competition for positions," said Schulha. "My hope is that we have great weekly practices and it will make my decisions more difficult."

The RDC Kings (7-3) will compete against the SAIT Trojans (6-2) on Friday, November 24 in Calgary at 8:00 p.m. Twenty-four hours later, the Kings will host the Trojans at 8:00 p.m. at RDC.