Solid effort helps Kings sweep Rattlers at home

The Kings were effective at the net once again. Photo - Tony Hansen
The Kings were effective at the net once again. Photo - Tony Hansen

Brent Forster - RDC

The RDC Kings Volleyball team competed against the Medicine Hat College Rattlers Friday evening at home and they had a solid effort as they swept the Rattlers in straight sets. 

The Kings hit the court with energy and opened on a 5-0 run. RDC built on that margin and went up by 10 points (18-8). The RDC Kings continued to apply pressure and a late kill by Evan Parchomchuk helped seal a 25-15 win.

The Rattlers held a one point lead until Hamish Hazelden pulled the Kings even 6-6 with a kill from the right side. RDC started to go ahead in the latter stages with some effective play from Adam Turlejski. The 6'6" middle recorded 2 kills and a stuff block to help the Kings earn a 25-19 victory.

After the third set was tied 3-3, the Kings went on an 11-5 run to jump ahead 14-8. Ben Holmes picked up the final point in that stretch off a Rattlers' block. A stuff block from Ben Hankins and kill from Hamish Hazelden on the right side helped give the Kings a 22-16 lead. Eventually, the RDC Kings won 25-22.

Hamish Hazelden was named the player-of-the-game for the Kings. The Kinesiology & Sport Studies student totaled 12 kills, 5 digs and 2 block assists. Vitor Pereira was chosen for the Rattlers and finished with 15 kills, 5 digs and 1 service ace.

Kings Volleyball Head Coach Aaron Schulha liked the overall effort. "It was fairly smooth for the most part. We got a bit loose with our serve-receive at the end. When the Rattlers had their back against the wall their spin servers went after it a little bit more and we didn't adjust to it late, but we found a way to squeak it out which is a positive," said Schulha. "We have been playing pretty good volleyball as of late. We are hoping that it's not too late but we put ourselves in that position where we have to win out and we need some help along the way. I am pleased with the way that we are pushing."

While the Kings are uncertain of the Rattlers' lineup on Saturday, they would like limit Vitor Pereira's impact in the rematch. "The Rattlers sat a couple of their typical starters so they may be going with mixed lines this weekend based on that fact they qualify automatically for playoffs as the host. They don't want to risk injury," said Schulha. "We will see what tomorrow brings in terms of their lineup. I don't think that we did a good enough job adjusting to Vitor Pereira. He was getting a lot of volume." 

The young Kings setters are developing nicely. "With two first-year setters (Thomas Wass and Jacob Rapin) it takes a little bit of time. Throughout the season, we had a lot of first-year mistakes but they are figuring it out. Tom has taken the reins and is really coming into his own. With our setters' development, our offence will look more crisp," said Schulha. "Tom is a student of the game which is important moving forward. Having Hamish healthier helps a whole lot too. Ben Hankins has stepped up as of late. I'm happy with how we are playing lately and we are peaking at the right time but I hope it's not too late."

Thomas Wass contributed 29 assists, 5 digs, 2 kills and 1 stuff block. Ben Hankins finished with 3 kills, 1 assist, 1 service ace, 1 dig, 2 stuff blocks and 2 block assists.

As a team, the Kings recorded 9 stuff blocks over 3 sets. "The blocking piece was pretty good," said Schulha. "Their setter is a first-year as well and he shows signs as to where he is going based on his body positioning. With our two veteran middles they should be picking that up and I thought that they did." 

Saturday, the Red Deer College Kings (14-9) will host the Medicine Hat College Rattlers (13-10) at 3:00 p.m. in their final regular season match. After the first place SAIT Trojans (20-4), the Lethbridge College Kodiaks (15-8) and the Briercrest College Clippers (15-8) are next in the south standings with 30 points. The Kings sit in fourth spot with 28 points and the Rattlers are in fifth with 26 points. The Medicine Hat College Rattlers are the hosts of the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) Men's Volleyball Championship so they have already qualified for the postseason. If Medicine Hat College finishes the season in fifth, they will bump the fourth seed out of the playoff picture. Saturday, the Kings will look to continue their winning ways at home and will need help from the Kodiaks and/or Clippers to drop their matches so the season can potentially continue into the playoffs.