Brent Forster - RDC
Red Deer, AB – Despite a slightly different Queens' lineup against the Kodiaks, the result was the same. With many contributors, four Queens pounded five or more kills and the home team downed the Lethbridge College Kodiaks in three sets 25-15, 25-21 and 25-19, taking the weekend series.
The Queens' balanced attack was on display in the opening half of the first set (12-8). RDC Queens setter Emma Letkeman effectively spread the ball around. Four RDC student-athletes had a pair of kills each - Tess Pearman, Emma Holmes, Sydney Rix and Jade Van Dyke. Mack Lewicki led the way for the Kodiaks with three kills during that stretch. Edyn Aasman and Emma Holmes helped the home team expand their lead, solidifying a 25-15 win.
"I went with a few different athletes today. One day someone is quite good and next day the other person is quite good, so we're trying to decide what that lineup will look like," says Queens Head Coach Talbot Walton. "We are happy - Jade came in that first set and was really solid, scored a lot of points for us and gave us a good energy boost."
Jade Van Dyke stacked up five kills, three digs and two assists in the match.
When the Queens led 14-9 in the second set, Kodiaks Head Coach Anna Schwark called a timeout and it provided a boost. Kills from Claire Armstrong and Mack Lewicki reduced the deficit to two (15-17). Then RDC eventually bumped its lead to four with a kill from Emma Holmes, her ninth, and the Queens wrapped up a 25-21 decision.
In the third set, a stuff block on the right side from setter Emma Letkeman pushed RDC up 9-6. It was the Queens' seventh stuff of the match. RDC expanded its three point lead. Sydney Rix capped off a 25-19 victory with a kill.
"Syd played pretty solid throughout the entire match and did a good job of being ready in the middle to hit some balls," explains Walton. "She scored on a couple jump ones and made some nice plays around the net. She served the ball well too and those are the things that we need from a middle blocker."
Sydney Rix had three stuff blocks, three kills while hitting for 0.500 percent efficiency, one ace and one assist.
"From a serving perspective, this group looks like it needs to serve those ten balls in a row and really try to work on getting the ball in place so we have an opportunity to block and dig," says Walton. "We have very good blockers, and defenders in our back court, so giving ourselves a chance to utilize that is great, but we missed too many [serves] tonight. I think we missed eight in the three sets today versus the three last night, which is five points. Just the momentum that causes is the difference between last night and today."
Emma Holmes was named the Collegiate Sports Medicine Queens Player-of-the-Game, leading both sides with ten kills. The outside hitter from Red Deer added two stuff blocks, one dig and one assist.
"It's setter dependant as well. The Emma-Emma connection has been favourable all year and Tess Pearman and Kelly Heinemann seem to have a good connection. Kelly put the ball in a good spot for Tess last night to be aggressive," says Walton. "I thought she had another good game today and made some good selections on shots to hit. She jumps high and hits it hard and the blocker can't handle it very often. Nice to see her develop those shots today."
Tess Pearman contributed seven kills, two aces and an assist.
Jamie Brown received the award for the Kodiaks. She contributed seven kills, five assists, three digs and one stuff block. Mack Lewicki totaled eight kills, six digs and one assist. Johanna Dixon had 14 assists and one ace.
As a group, the Queens recorded eight stuff blocks. The Kodiaks responded with three.
On Friday, Jan. 24, the second place Queens (12-2) will host the Ambrose University Lions (10-4) at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre at 6:00 pm. The Kodiaks (2-12) and Broncos (2-11) will hit the Lethbridge court on Friday, Jan. 17 at 6:00 pm.