Brent Forster - RDC
Saturday, the Red Deer College Queens Volleyball team hosted the SAIT Trojans, and after the Queens dropped the first set they took control of the next three sets for the match victory with a solid team game.
The opening set was back-and-forth. After the RDC Queens led 8-6 the Trojans went on an 11-8 run to pull ahead 17-16. A stuff block from Megan Schmidt tied the set 17-17. Not much separated the two squads the remainder of the way, and the SAIT Trojans eventually won the opening set 26-24. Queens setter Chanelle Kayser utilized the left-side effectively in the first half of the set. Miranda Dawe picked up 3 kills. Kayser mixed things up and distributed the ball to the right and middle. From the right-side, McKenna Barthel contributed 4 kills and middle blocker Megan Schmidt totaled 3 kills.
The Queens were motivated in the second set to climb back into the match. The RDC team went up 9-2 off a Barthel kill from the right-side. From the middle, Hanna Delemont gave RDC a 16-10 cushion. When the Queens held a 21-11 lead, Trojans coach Art O'Dwyer called timeout. SAIT tried to rally but the Queens eventually earned a 25-17 victory. Barthel added 4 more kills from the right in the set.
It was a close start to the third set, but a kill from Katrina Dawe gave the Queens a 5-4 lead. Two service aces in a row from Kayser extended RDC's lead to 6 points (12-6). SAIT tried to make a late charge but the RDC Queens eventually won 25-21 to pull ahead 2 sets to 1. Kayser did an effective job of distributing the ball to a variety of offensive weapons once again.
The Queens took an early 5-3 lead in the fourth set from a powerful kill by Katrina Dawe but SAIT went on an 11-6 run to take a 14-11 lead. Katrina Dawe earned back-to-back points for RDC with a kill and service ace to pull the Queens within 2 points (17-19). The RDC Queens battled and Britt Davis capped of the set 25-22, and the Queens won the match.
Kayser was named the player-of-the-game for the RDC Queens while Taylor Ellis received the honour for the Trojans. Kayser, a Bachelor of Science Nursing student from Calgary, totaled 44 assists, 4 service aces, 7 digs and 2 kills for RDC. Ellis finished with 9 kills, 1 assist and 2 service aces.
Chris Wandler, head coach of the Queens, appreciated Kayser's ability to follow the plan. "Chanelle did a really good job of executing our game plan by running a lot of middle and freeing up our outsides," said Wandler. "Chanelle (Kayser), Katrina (Dawe) and Kaylee (Domoney) were stellar tonight. It was a good effort on their part." Katrina Dawe, a second-year Open Studies student, finished the match with 10 kills, 1 assist, 1 service ace and 9 digs. Domoney contributed 3 assists and 15 digs in the win.
Wandler identified several areas of the Queens' game which were effective. "Overall, I thought that we played a pretty good team game. Our passing and defence were pretty stellar tonight," said Wandler. "Our blocking got better as we went along and we got more comfortable with the flow of our offence."
Wandler saw increased urgency earlier in the match Saturday evening. "I thought we saw urgency at times today. We didn't really see that until the fourth and fifth set yesterday," said Wandler. "We allowed ourselves to play a little more free."
A few substitutions seemed to spark Red Deer College. "In the fourth set, I put Jade Van Dyke in there and she did a really good job. She's been playing well in the back court in practice and I knew her ball control would be there," said Wandler. "It gave us a different look. I put Leah Hagel in there mainly as a blocking sub."
The Queens will plan to mix academics with rest and training over the break. "We will take a few days off this week. We have some things that we want to get accomplished," said Wandler. "We will practice a few times during exams and shut it down around December 14, and come back around December 27. We will train with the U of A Pandas and come back here, and get ready for the second half. We are still trying to refine our game."
The RDC Queens (9-3) will compete against the Olds College Broncos (0-11) on Friday, January 5, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. on the road. The Queens are in second spot in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) Women's Volleyball South Division standings with 18 points. Briercrest College (11-1) leads the division with 22 points.