Brent Forster – RDC
Red Deer, AB – After a close first set (25-21), the Red Deer Queens settled in and improved their margin of victory in the final two sets (25-13 and 25-10), finalizing a three set win over the visiting Olds College Broncos at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre.
In a back-and-forth opening set, the Queens and Broncos were even on several occasions and it wasn't until late when RDC broke away to cap off a 25-21 win. Megan Cleddie sparked the Broncos' offence with five kills. From the left, the Queens' Erin Neufeldt evened Cleddie's output with five kills of her own.
Erin Neufeldt (6) Colby Brochu Photography
The second set featured strong service pressure from RDC's McKenna Olson, serving eight consecutive balls which provided the Queens a 13-3 edge. The RDC Queens added to their 10 point margin, finishing with a 25-13 win. Over both sets, Bronco's setter Avery Gammel had 11 assists while the Queens' Natalie Bloemen contributed 19 assists.
Natalie Bloemen (5) Colby Brochu Photography
The Queens opened the third set on a 13-4 run. Then Karley Dieken, who started to take over the kills lead for Olds College, recorded a kill. The RDC Queens continued to play with momentum, sealing a 25-10 win.
Erin Neufeldt, a Bachelor of Science Nursing student, was selected as the Queens Player-of-the-Game, stacking up 13 kills and five digs while hitting for 60 percent efficiency. Avery Gammel received the recognition for the Broncos, totaling 11 assists and one dig while helping to set up the Broncos' offensive attack.
Colby Brochu Photography
Queens Head Coach Chris Wandler liked the energy that Neufeldt brought, and is pleased with how she has settled in the RDC Queens' lineup. "Our outside hitters were very effective tonight. Erin only had one error on 20 attempts," he says. "You can't have too much depth to push the next player to come along with you. Erin is a third-year and is understanding what it means to play Queens Volleyball. Coming from SAIT, it is a different style of play and she is feeling more comfortable."
RDC Queens' setter Natalie Bloemen recorded 29 assists and three digs. The win was the Queens' fourth in a row and the team has been on a roll lately, going 8-2 over the past 10 matches.
"It was good on our part. We were very efficient with the ball today," says Wandler. "Natalie did a really good job of distributing the ball and we were good out of system."
Colby Brochu Photography
The Queens share third in the south with the Ambrose University Lions (9-6) and Medicine Hat College Rattlers (9-7), trailing the second place SAIT Trojans (10-5) by a pair of points.
The young Queens are learning to focus on the present which will bode well in the second half of the schedule. "They have all the physical tools. Now it is getting the brain and the emotional piece invested and rolling. It is tough when you are thinking two or three plays behind you, and we did a lot of that in the first half," says Wandler. "It has been a learning process the past eight matches and we have done a really good job until this point of leaving the past behind us. Kudos to the girls. They are starting to play at a level that is good for January."
On Sunday, January 13, the RDC Queens (9-6) will face the Broncos (1-14) at 6:00 p.m. in Olds.