Brent Forster - RDC
Friday, the second place Red Deer College Queens entertained the fifth place SAIT Trojans, and the Queens mixed up their offence which kept the Trojans on their heels. After dropping the first set, the Queens gained momentum and won the next three to claim the match in four sets.
After the Trojans pulled ahead 9-7 in the opening set, Chanelle Kayser, of the Queens, went on a 4 point serving streak to give RDC an 11-9 edge. Then SAIT went on a 13-3 run of their own to pull ahead 22-14 but the Queens didn't give in easily. RDC nearly completed the comeback but the Trojans capped it off 25-23. Miranda Dawe led the Queens with 3 kills while Jayden Leong was the offensive leader for the Trojans with 5 kills.
McKenna Barthel made an impact in the second set. The Business Administration Human Resources student from Red Deer picked up the Queens' first point off a kill from the right side and then shortly after she earned a service ace to give RDC a 7-3 lead. Kayser was once again very effective from the service line and pulled the Queens ahead 16-12 with an ace. The RDC Queens continued to put pressure on the Trojans and Katrina Dawe finished off the set 25-17 with a kill from the left side.
Not much separated the two teams in the third set. The set was knotted up 8-8, 13-13, 18-18 and then Kayser went on another effective run from the service line and helped the Queens win 25-18.
The Trojans opened to a 6-2 lead in the fourth set but the Queens rallied. Megan Schmidt tied the score 7-7 with a kill. After the RDC Queens pulled ahead 18-15, Trojans Head Coach Art O'Dwyer called a timeout. The Queens outscored the Trojans 7-1 and won 25-16.
Queens Head Coach Chris Wandler thought that the Queens had stretches of being too passive in the opening set but a few alterations got the team back on track. "We had a pretty good start and then we got a little bit tight and it kept us from playing our style of game," said Wandler. "We made a few substitutions and we started to play more aggressive instead of letting the game come to us."
Wandler liked the progression of the Queens' offence. "Offensively, we have been working on our tempo and trying to get our middle blockers involved more. Tonight, we were pretty good. We had 11 kills from the middle of the court which opened up our outsides," said Wandler. "Katrina Dawe and Miranda Dawe got going and had 26 kills between them. All of those things are starting to pay dividends. Our defence is coming along where we are picking up more points off transition than we had in the first semester. It is still a work in progress."
In the rematch on Saturday in Calgary, Wandler wants to see the Queens set the tempo and keep their foot on the gas. "I'd like to see us deal a little bit better with other teams playing harder against us," said Wandler. "We have to be comfortable staying aggressive and not letting the game come to us. We want to take the game to the opposition."
Chanelle Kayser was chosen as the player-of-the game for the RDC Queens while Jadyn Leong received the honour for the SAIT Trojans. Kayser, a Bachelor of Science Nursing student, accumulated 4 kills, 8 service aces, 3 digs and 34 assists. Leong picked up 12 kills, 1 assist, 5 aces and 11 digs for the Trojans.
Wandler appreciated Kayser's ability to follow the plan given by the coaching staff. "Chanelle has been really good trying to execute the game plan," said Wandler. "She showed leadership and is really growing her game."
With the victory, the Queens won their eighth match in a row. The fifth place Trojans (6-9) will host the second place Queens (12-3) Saturday, January 13 at 6:00 p.m. in Calgary. The Briercrest College Clippers (14-1) sit in top spot in the south with 28 points.