Brent Forster – RDC
Red Deer, AB – There are moments in sports that can be defined as game changers and that happened Saturday afternoon in the second set as the RDC Kings hosted the Medicine Hat College Rattlers at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre. After the Rattlers shaded the Kings in the first set and led in the second, RDC's Regan Fathers positively took control of a time-out and inspired his Kings to down the previously undefeated Rattlers by winning three consecutive sets (25-16, 25-19 and 25-14) to take the match.
After the two teams were even 10-10 in the first set, kills from Regan Fathers and Jonathan (JJ) Graham put the Kings slightly ahead 18-17. Medicine Hat College persisted and scraped out a 25-23 decision.
Aaron Schulha, Kings Head Coach, appreciated the Kings' ability to rebound after a bit of a slow start. "It took the first set to wake up a little bit which was unfortunate, but there was some good side-out volleyball," he says.
Positively encouraging his teammates and backing his words with fantastic play, Fathers, a six-foot-six right side hitter, helped the Kings overcome an early deficit. He recorded several kills, and along with a dump ball from Thomas Wass, the RDC Kings eventually captured an impressive 25-16 victory.
In the third, Fathers pounded another ball down and Jonathan (JJ) Graham recorded a kill to provide RDC an 11-7 lead. A Paul Mennie-Regan Fathers block helped the Kings maintain their 4 point margin (21-17). Then, RDC expanded their lead and finalized a 25-19 win.
RDC visibly had momentum and carried it over into the fourth set, firing out to a 5-0 lead. Libero Isaiah Stime made several diving saves to keep the play alive and the Kings vaulted up by 8 (14-6). Suitably, Regan Fathers finished a 25-14 decision to take the match.
Regan Fathers was selected as the Kings Player-of-the-Game and Dexter Mackie was recognized for the Rattlers. Fathers was dominant once again in statistics but brought much more to the table. The gifted fifth-year student-athlete stacked up 37 kills, 4 digs and 1 assist. Mackie picked up 10 kills.
"Man, Regan was a huge difference maker and all weekend long. He put up ridiculous numbers yesterday and even more so today. It's a good learning curve for Thomas Wass and our setters, that when all else fails you have a big weapon out there who can put it away, almost at will," says Schulha. "Our right side rhythm has gotten much much better. Looks like Tom and Regan are connecting very well, which is always a good thing. Regan is a guy who we wanted to have a strong voice this year because his play always does the talking. Along with Turk (Adam Turlejski), those two fifth-year guys, who have been with this program for a while now, will be some of the main voices in the room and on the floor."
Several aspects of the Kings' game were elevated in the rematch. "Our left sides did a good job again. Jonathan (JJ) Graham came off the bench yesterday, but in that starting role today he did a good job for us, on the passing and defensive end and he put the balls away when they came to his area. It was pretty good all around," says Schulha. "Medicine Hat is a tough team with a lot of athletes and we forced them into some trouble with some quality service pressure."
Libero Isaiah Stime made some key defensive plays for the Kings. "Isaiah Stime had a solid match for us. Christopher Petersen and Isaiah Stime have started an equal number of matches so far, so it's nice to have two quality liberos," says Schulha. "I think Medicine Hat was serving tougher at times than they did last night. Isaiah is really quick so he digs a pile of balls which is great to see."
"It was a really good win for us, especially coming off a loss last night and we need to keep getting more comfortable in this gym," says Schulha.
On Friday, November 8, the RDC Kings (4-4) will compete against the Broncos (0-5) in Olds at 8:00 p.m. Then on Saturday at 8:00 p.m., the Kings will host the Broncos at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre.