Eight of the top men's volleyball teams from the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) are only days away from competing for national gold at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre.
The Red Deer College Kings will open nationals against the defending CCAA National Champions, the Limoilou Titans, on Thursday, March 7 at 6:00 p.m. The two volleyball programs are the most winning in CCAA history, with the Kings holding an edge (13-11).
Regan Fathers (1) Pic - Colby Brochu Photography
Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) Men's Volleyball Player of the Year and All-Conference team selection Regan Fathers, will be a key player for the Kings. The fifth-year recorded the most kills (435) and kills per set (5.37) in the ACAC. The right side hitter brings a wealth of experience, skill and leadership, having won two previous national championships.
RDC's Mark DeWit, an ACAC South All-Conference team selection, will be a significant force in the middle. The Bachelor of Commerce student had an outstanding campaign, ranking fourth in the league with 0.75 blocks per set. The second-year from Lacombe contributed 124 kills, 56 blocks and 34 digs in 21 matches.
Kings Head Coach Aaron Schulha anticipates a good match against the Titans. "Limoilou has been in the last four CCAA National Championship matches, so no doubt they will be confident and they are very well-coached," he said. "They always play with a lot of energy and compete hard, so I would expect nothing less than their best."
Schulha and the Kings have been scouting and preparing for their opposition. "Limoilou has a big, athletic setter who is one of the best in the country. Their opposite is high volume and a game changer for them," said Schulha. "Their middles are also quite solid on both sides of the ball. One is quite a bit bigger than the other, but they get similar volume in their offence. The left side guys do a good job, but are a little smaller than what we are used to seeing in our league."
The RDC Kings (18-6) placed second in the competitive ACAC South Division, and were one of the hottest teams to complete the regular season, winning 15 of their past 17 conference matches.
Mark DeWit (8) Pic - Colby Brochu Photography
Limoilou, led by Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) Player of the Year Nicolas Fortin, finished first in the standings with a 12-4 record. The Limoilou Titans earned their fifth consecutive RSEQ gold medal after winning in straight sets over the Griffons de l'Outaouais in the final.
In the first match on Thursday, the Fanshawe Falcons will challenge the Holland Hurricanes at 1:00 p.m. The Falcons went undefeated during the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) season. The Hurricanes steadily developed their game over the year and defeated the St. Thomas Tommies in the Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association (ACAA) Championship final.
Prior to the Kings' match, the Keyano College Huskies will play the Griffons de l'Outaouais at 3:00 p.m. The Huskies (22-2) had an excellent ACAC season, finishing first in the ACAC North Division and earning gold at the ACAC Championship. After a 9-7 RSEQ regular season record, the Griffons elevated their game in the playoffs, winning a three-set semi-final over Sherbrooke.
To complete the opening day action, the Vancouver Island University (VIU) Mariners, from the Pacific Western Athletic Association (PACWEST), will face the Humber Hawks, of the ACAA, at 8:00 p.m. After a 16-8 regular season, the Mariners downed the reigning champion Camosun Chargers in the PACWEST Championship. The Hawks (18-3) fell to the Falcons in the OCAA final and are the wildcard entry from their conference.
Thursday, March 7
Match 1 | Falcons vs. Hurricanes | 1:00 p.m. | Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre
Match 2 | Huskies vs. Griffons | 3:00 p.m. | Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre
Match 3 | Titans vs. RDC Kings | 6:00 p.m. | Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre
Match 4 | Mariners vs. Hawks | 8:00 p.m. | Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre
2018-19 Kings Pic -Tony Hansen
The medal games will be played on Saturday, March 9.
Some tickets remain for nationals, and they can be purchased online for convenience.
For more information about the CCAA Men's Volleyball National Championship, please look online.