Brent Forster - RDC
The Red Deer College Volleyball Kings faced the Lethbridge College Kodiaks Saturday afternoon, and the Kings had many contributors in their four set victory which had some similarities to Friday.
After the first set was tied, the Kings pulled ahead 11-9 with kills from Parker Biletsky and Ben Holmes on the left side. Hamish Hazelden contributed from the right side and RDC eventually earned a 25-17 win.
Once the Kings grabbed a lead in the second set they put the Kodiaks back on their heels. An ace from Parker Biletsky and a kill from Ben Holmes gave RDC a 15-7 edge. The Kings outscored the Kodiaks 10-8 to seal a 25-15 victory.
The third set was back-and-forth. Hazelden pushed the Kings ahead 17-14 with a kill from the right side. Biletsky recorded his third ace of the afternoon to give the Kings a 20-16 lead. Lethbridge College battled back and eventually earned a 28-26 win.
After the fourth set was tied 6-6, the Kings went on a 6-1 run. In that stretch Hamish Hazelden and Adam Turlejski picked up kills, and Thomas Wass had a stuff block to allow the Kings to jump ahead 12-7. The RDC Kings continued to press and Hazelden capped off the set 25-19.
Ben Holmes was named the player-of-the-game for the Kings while Carter Hansen received the award for the Kodiaks. Holmes, a second-year student-athlete from Red Deer, finished with 12 kills, 2 assists, 2 digs and 2 stuff blocks. Hansen contributed 19 kills and 4 digs.
Kings Volleyball Head Coach Aaron Schulha liked the play from Holmes over the weekend. "Ben was good for us both days," said Schulha. "Early in the match, our serve-receive was a bit tentative but Ben picked it up late."
The match resembled Friday's and Schulha noted several positive aspects.
"It was very similar to last game. We went with the same starting lineup that finished the match for us yesterday. It was good to see Ben Hankins and Parker Biletsky do pretty well but they needed a little relief at times. We were well prepared and played good in the first two sets. Our block and defence looked pretty solid which is good," said Schulha. "Today, if we weren't great in one area, the guys contributed in other areas which was great to see. We've been preaching that all year so it was nice that it's finally coming to fruition. There's no reason why we shouldn't have finished it in three sets which was a little disappointing. We were up 24-21 and we didn't push back when the Kodiaks pushed late. They were fighting for their lives in this match. There was a lot of good today, getting the weekend sweep against these guys. I will take two wins."
The Kings will have a bye week and they will use the time to progress their game. "We want to continue to get better. I thought that we showed a lot of strides this week. We want to continue to put pressure on the players in practice so those high pressure situations in matches become easier," said Schulha. "We will take a little bit of rest time. It's a hard time of year for all teams. It's that grind time and we want to make sure that we give the student-athletes the necessary rest. We will practice four days this week and then we go to Ambrose next Thursday, so it's a short week. We want to continue to battle in practice."
The RDC Kings (11-9) will compete against the Ambrose University Lions (4-13), Thursday, February 8 at 8:00 p.m. on the road. Saturday, the Kings will host the Lions at 8:00 p.m. in the RDC Main Gym. With a pair of weekend match victories, the Kings share third spot in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) Men's Volleyball South Division with the Lethbridge College Kodiaks.