Red Deer College Kings get Silver at CCAA Men's Volleyball Championship

Red Deer College Kings get Silver at CCAA Men's Volleyball Championship

by ACAC Sports Writer Curtis J. Phillips

It was on the final day at the 2018-2019 Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Men's Volleyball Championships Saturday that the host Red Deer College Kings and Keyano Huskies were hoping to do what Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) teams had done 13 times since 1978-1979.

Win two medals on the national stage.

Most recently was 2016-2017 when Red Deer took gold and Medicine Hat bronze.

Red Deer Kings would be looking for their 14th CCAA Men's Volleyball banner taking on the Fanshawe Falcons in the gold medal game.

Fanshawe was working its way up the ladder, having won CCAA silver in 2017-2018 and bronze in 2015-2016.

The Huskies would be looking at a possible back-to-back bronze medal as they spiked it against the VIU Mariners.

GOLD MEDAL GAME

Red Deer 1 Fanshawe 3 25-12, 25-13, 22-25, 25-23

Red Deer players diving during gold medal game

The Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) Fanshawe Falcons had already heard the news that their women's team had captured the 2018-2019 CCAA Women's Volleyball Championships bronze medal out east by defeating ACAC Wild Card Briercrest Clippers in Welland, Ontario and hosted by Seneca College.

It was their turn now to face another ACAC Wild Card team, but this time the colour of the medal would be either gold or silver.

With a sold out audience at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre the host Red Deer Kings would go down 25-12, 25-13, 22-25, 25-23...the Falcons completing an undefeated season.

ACAC and CCAA Men's Volleyball Player of the Year Regan Fathers had 16 kills, 3 digs and 2 blocks for the Kings, who despite having more team kills then their opponents 43-34, committed more service errors 19-to-11 and were out blocked at the net 16-9.

"They (Fanshawe) played tremendous volleyball right from the jump. They seemed more loose and we seemed like a deer in the headlights those first couple of sets," said Kings coach Aaron Schulha in a story posted on the Red Deer College website . "You get down pretty heavy against a team like that, two-nothing, and not close. It is hard to claw your way back."

"They were bombing serves and we weren't. They have a lot of weapons and athleticism. "It wasn't the game plan, it was the execution piece, which is tough as a coach. We prepare them as well as we can. The execution piece wasn't quite there tonight."

" They turned a ton of balls around which are huge energy points - big blocks and digs that you can end up winning points on. That had a lot to do with why they built early leads. We seemed frustrated early in sets and couldn't build a rhythm. They are well coached and are undefeated for a reason. They played well when it mattered most and that's what a champion is supposed to do."

Red Deer Kings opened the tournament with a win against Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) Titans de Limoilou 3-0 (25-11, 25-21, 25-22) Friday as Fathers had 14 kills.

Teammate Adam Turlejski added 12 kills.

In the Friday semi-final it was a 3-0 sweep of VIU Mariners (25-23, 25-02, and 26-24) as Fathers was the big gun with 17 kills to go along with four blocks.

BRONZE MEDAL GAME

Keyano Huskies 2 VIU Mariners 3 25-20, 25-20, 22-25, 28-30, 16-14.

Photo courtesy Erwin Kuhr:
Keyano Huskies Don Campbell spikes against
Griffons de l'Outaouais

For the second year in a row the Keyano College Huskies from Fort McMurray, Alberta were in the bronze medal match.

Last year they had captured a bronze medal at the 2017-2018 CCAA Men's Volleyball Championships against the host Camosun College 3-2 (25-16,22-25,11-25,28-26,15-13) in Victoria, B.C.

This year their opponent would be the VIU Mariners from the Pacific Western Athletic Association (PACWEST).

It would be an entertaining bronze medal final in front of an announced sold out crowd with the Mariners winning 25-20, 25-20, 22-25, 28-30 and 16-14.

The Mariners came back from a 7-1 deficit to win the fifth and final set of the match.

"We had a good lead and we couldn't hold it," said Huskies head coach Keegan Kuhr. "We couldn't pass well enough to side out and they served very well."

Huskies will be losing eight players from their roster: "We will have to retool and try to get back to one of the top teams in the ACAC again."

Huskies veteran Justin Delorme would have an impressive 30 kills. Huskies Player of the Game was Kelly Wood with 42 assists and 14 digs.

Huskies had advanced to the medal game following a morning defeat of the Titans de Limoilou 25-17, 25-23 and 25-19 in the bronze medal semi-final match.

Huskies had opened the tournament Thursday beating the Griffons de l'Outaouais (RSEQ) 25-22, 25-21 and 25-18.

Huskies' Justin Delorme had 12 kills and was named Player of the Game while Don Campbell had 4 service aces and 4 blocks. Setter Kelly Woods had 26 assists.

Huskies doubled up their opponent 6-3 in service aces and dominated at the net with 12 blocks compared to only 3. Huskies had 12 service errors while the Quebec side had 14.

In the semi-final matchup Friday the Huskies went the five-game distance against the Fanshawe Falcons, losing by a score of 25-19, 21-25, 21-25, 25-22 and 15-12.

ACAC players making the tournament all-star team were:

First Team

Justin Delorme, Keyano College
Regan Fathers, Red Deer
Mark DeWit, Red Deer

Second Team

Kelly Woods, Keyano College
Adam Turlejski, Red Deer

Heading into Saturday afternoon the ACAC had a chance to do what the ACAC had done only four times before; win a combined four medals at the men's and women's national stage with two claimed by the men and two for women.

It was last done in 2013-2014 when Red Deer Kings claimed CCAA men's volleyball gold against the host Briercrest College Clippers while the Red Deer College Queens found gold against the Grande Prairie Regional College Wolves in the CCAA women's tournament hosted by at Seneca College in Toronto, Ontario.

The rare achievement was first performed in 1982-1982 when Mount Royal College Cougars edged SAIT Trojans on their Calgary home court in the men's final and Red Deer College Queens claimed silver and SAIT Trojans bronze in the women's championships.