Brent Forster - RDC
Red Deer, AB – The RDC Kings thought after last night's sweep, the Lethbridge College Kodiaks would elevate their game in the rematch Saturday afternoon. While that was true, Kings Head Coach Aaron Schulha didn't see the same consistency from his group in the Kodiaks' three set road win (25-23, 25-20 and 25-15).
"They are a good team and will be even better at home. We know what they are capable of going into the conference championship," explains Schulha. "It might have been a necessary wake up call. It should be a big learning piece."
The Kodiaks will host the 2020 Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) Men's Volleyball Championship in February.
In a back-and-forth first set, the teams traded points to 17-17. The largest difference was only a pair of points. Carter Hills, a Bachelor of Education Science student, had a trio of kills for the Kings. Carter Hansen also had three kills for the Kodiaks during that stretch. Eventually, Lethbridge College's Michael Hummel sealed a close 25-23 decision.
Ben Holmes and Carter Hills helped the home team take an early 10-5 edge in the second set. Then Michael Svab and Lethbridge College went on an 11-6 run to knot it up 16-16. Carter Hansen and Tony Albizzati energized the Kodiaks late and they captured a 25-20 win.
"We had our opportunities in the first and the second. The second set we did a good job changing the momentum," says Schulha. "I think we were up 14-10, then it got to 16's and they pulled away late. A lot of it was missed serves and net touches, and a run of errors on our part. In those first two sets, it was a lot less about what they were doing, although they did play better, but it was more about our mistakes at key times."
Strong Kodiak's blocking gave the visitors a 10-1 start to the third set. Lethbridge College kept the pressure on and sealed a 25-15 victory, taking the match in three sets.
"In the third set, they were playing with a lot of freedom," says Schulha. "It was 5-0 and then 10-2, and at that point they have enough good players."
Zak Hallworth (5)
Libero Zak Hallworth was recognized as the Collegiate Sports Medicine Kings Player-of-the-Game with strong defensive play.
"They didn't serve him a lot. When they did, he was ready for it. With Zak, he's been really solid for us all year as a first-year libero, similar conversation to what we had about Carter [Hills] yesterday," says Schulha. "First-year guys are stepping up which is also a bit of negative, where it was the first-year guys that we could rely upon versus our veteran guys, which we will make a point of when we meet with them shortly."
Brisbane, Australia's, Patrik Toze was effective on Friday, but only played part of one set in the rematch due to illness.
"Pat had food poisoning last night, so unfortunately we weren't able to start him today. We knew we'd miss his presence at the net," says Schulha. "He's a pretty dynamic guy. We talked about the next man up mentality, but did just the opposite unfortunately. It would have been nice to win this one, but we are right in the mix."
Carter Hansen was selected as the Kodiaks' top player, accumulating 12 kills, four digs, three aces and two stuff blocks. Quinn Buchanan fired nine kills. Tony Albizzati and Michael Hummel had six each.
As a team, the Kings totaled five stuff blocks and three aces. The Kodiaks finished with eight stuffs and five service aces.
The third place RDC Kings (10-4) will compete against the Ambrose University Lions (1-13) at RDC on Friday, Jan. 24 at 8:00 pm. The second place Kodiaks (11-3) will host the Broncos (4-10) on Friday, Jan. 17 at 8:00 pm.