Brent Forster – RDC
Red Deer, AB – The Kings had many strong performances Friday evening, including another massive 23 kills from Regan Fathers, wrapping up a three set victory (25-20, 25-19 and 25-21) over the visiting SAIT Trojans at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre.
With 10 kills from Regan Fathers, the Kings captured the opening set 25-20. Jarrett Noel recorded seven kills for SAIT.
Isaiah Stime (5) Colby Brochu Photography
The Kings kept their foot on the gas and defeated the Trojans 25-21, winning the match in straight sets.
Ben Holmes (10) had 4 digs and 3 kills Colby Brochu Photography
"I thought that it was a pretty steady match. We talked this week about being more of a self starting team and I thought we did a pretty good job. We are all fighting for playoff positioning and SAIT will be in the mix down the line," says Head Coach Aaron Schulha. "Our serve-receive wasn't where it needed to be tonight - they are a good serving team. I thought we did a good job at bettering the ball. You can see by the numbers, in terms of Regan's efficiency (0.486) and JJ's efficiency (0.750) with zero errors. That was also one of Tom's best matches."
Regan Fathers was selected as the Kings Player-of-the-Game, stacking up 23 kills, five digs and three aces. Tyler Latu'ila received the award for the Trojans, contributing 11 kills, three digs, one ace and one assist.
On Saturday at 8:00 p.m., the second place Kings (16-5) will compete against the Trojans (12-7) in Calgary.
Graduating Kings and Scholarship recipient
Prior to the opening serve, Mark DeWit received the 2018-19 John Walsh Memorial Scholarship in Search of Excellence for the RDC Kings.
Aaron Schulha with Mark DeWit (8) Colby Brochu Photography
The graduating fifth-years, who played at least two seasons with the Kings, were recognized before the match. Regan Fathers, Ryan Beatson, Christopher Petersen and Adam Turlejski will be moving on from the Kings Volleyball program after nationals March 7-9.
Colby Brochu Photography
"It is hard to see them move on. Regan and Adam especially, having been here four and five years, and having been important pieces to the program," says Schulha. "We won one [national championship] before they were here but for them being key pieces in winning two more, and putting this program back where it's supposed to be at the top of the country, I think says a lot of those guys. They are as good of people as they are volleyball players. Ryan is a great team guy and competitor and Chris Peterson - it's nice to have those Red Deer guys being able to finish their careers here."
A few other student-athletes will also play out their five years of eligibility this season. "Those weren't our only graduating players. Paul Mennie and Tristan Simmonds, both fifth-year guys, were only with the program for one year," says Schulha. "Steve Keating is probably moving on - a fourth-year guy, but I will address them all individually in the team room."
The fifth-year Kings will have many opportunities to stay connected to volleyball. "If Adam wants to coach down the line, I think he has a great mind for the game. Regan will have a fairly long playing career if he can stay healthy," says Schulha. "Ryan definitely has a coach's mind. He has been involved in the coaching piece. Chris has been involved in our club program as well."