The stage has been set for the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Women’s Volleyball National Championship in Charlottetown, PEI. The top eight teams from across the nation have been determined and are gearing up for three days of intense competition, beginning March 25.
With a four set Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) Championship victory over the Lakeland College Rustlers on March 12, the Red Deer Polytechnic Queens won gold and solidified a spot in the national championship.
Since then, the Queens have been training and focusing on what made them successful throughout an undefeated regular season (16-0) and ACAC playoff run.
“Practice has been going really well. We are just fine tuning areas of our game,” said Chris Wandler, Red Deer Polytechnic Queens Volleyball Interim Head Coach. “It was tough to prepare specifically for our opponent before knowing exactly who we would be facing. We are relying on our learnings and what we’ve been doing throughout the entire year.”
The Red Deer Polytechnic Queens will begin nationals against the Mount St. Vincent University (MSVU) Mystics, from Halifax, on Friday, March 25.
“The Mystics are the Atlantic champions. This week we are watching video of them and formulating a more specific game plan,” explained Wandler. “We are focusing on taking care of our game and playing Queens Volleyball, so they have to adjust to our style of play.”
Led by head coach Derrick Brooks, a two-time Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association (ACAA) Coach of the Year, the Mystics swept the St. Thomas Tommies (25-20, 25-22 and 25-18) in the ACAA Women’s Volleyball Championship. In that match, MSVU second-year outside hitter Marcy MacNeil had a game high 15 kills along with 14 digs.
The Queens have depth and many impact players of their own. In the ACAC gold medal match, outside hitters Tess Pearman and Jaiden Ferguson recorded 13 kills each. ACAC Women’s Volleyball South Player of the Year Anna Carlson was very efficient on the right side, contributing 12 kills with a 0.455 hitting percentage. Setter Emma Letkeman (41 assists) also connected with middles McKenna Olson (seven kills) and Sydney Rix (five kills) in that match. Once again, libero Kaylee Domoney was the team’s defensive backbone, accumulating 17 digs and three assists.
In 2019/2020, the RDP Queens captured CCAA bronze after steadily improving throughout the championship. The Red Deer Polytechnic Queens Volleyball team will be looking for its fourth national gold medal, previously winning in 2015, 2014, and 1984.
The team and coaching staff will fly to Charlottetown on Wednesday.
The Red Deer Polytechnic Queens will play the MSVU Mystics in a national quarter-final on Friday, March 25 at 10 am MDT. Fans will be able to watch the match online.
The six other teams participating in the national championship are:
Holland Hurricanes – ACAA hosts
Humber Hawks – Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) gold
Douglas Royals – Pacific Western Athletic Association (PACWEST) gold
VIU Mariners – PACWEST wildcard and winner of the past three CCAA Championships
Les Rouges de Saint-Boniface – Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference (MCAC) gold
Lynx d’Édouard-Montpetit – Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) gold
After Friday’s match, please refer to the CCAA schedule to see when the Queens will play next.
The RDP Queens preparing for their first championship defense in program history
After a historic season a year ago, the Red Deer Polytechnic Queens Soccer team is ready to start their championship defense as the 2023/2024 Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) season kicks off this weekend.
A year ago, they started the season off with a loss against the SAIT Trojans. But they didn’t know this was going to be the only loss of the ACAC season. They managed to win 11 in a row on their way to their first-ever championship banner in program history.
This incredible season also included a record-setting campaign for Sein Furuyama (Open Studies), who was last year’s ACAC South Player and Rookie of the Year recipient. She broke the individual record for most goals in a season with 29 goals and helped the Queens break the record for most goals by a team in one year as well with a total of 89.
Furuyama was also named to the South Division All-Conference alongside her teammates Estel and Sofia Quinteros (Practical Nurse Diploma).
But after losing some veteran players to graduation, Head Coach Mahziar Peyrow, who was last year’s ACAC South Division Coach of the Year, says the Queens will be looking a little bit different as they start their new season.
“This season is going to be tough for us as we had a lot of players graduate from the Polytechnic, so it will be a bit of a rebuilding year for us. But we will still be able to compete at the top level.” They still managed to keep some players from their gold medal-winning team.
Furuyama is preparing herself for her second year in the conference as she is coming off a knee injury and wants to impress the conference yet again.
Defense Kayla Yeo (Open Studies) is coming back for her fifth and final year. Yeo alongside Sofia Quinteros will co-captain the Queens this season with last year’s captain Alisha Coules graduating from the four-year Nursing program. Coules will step in as an assistant coach for the team this year.
Peyrow is very excited to have Quinteros back in the midfield as well as Yeo on the defensive line. “Sofia will remain as a key player in the defensive midfield to keep providing us with the quick transition into the attacking third. Kayla will step in the role of centre-back to strengthen our defense alongside our ever-so-powerful Kyra Remekie (Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences).”
He added the Queens will also be returning their two strikers, Paige Kalbfleisch (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) and Grace Smith (Bachelor of Business Administration). These two student-athletes bring a high level of skill on the ball and can attack dangerously with pace.
Alongside these multiple returnees will also be a couple of key additions to the team who were recruited by last year’s ACAC South Division Women’s Coach of the Year this past off-season, defense Payton Erick (Business Diploma) and midfield Rilyn Clement (Pre-Health Sciences). Peyrow believes Erick will be a strong force at the back that can also get up the pitch and impact the game on the offensive side and Clement has a high soccer IQ who has great vision in the midfield.
Putting all these pieces together, the Queens head coach is quite optimistic the team can compete at the same level they did a year ago.
“Obviously, we had a great season last year and it would be amazing to reenact that this campaign. I believe the ladies have it in them to execute a great season. The energy is high as these ladies want to impress. The players all know that they need to perform well as the bar has been raised for this program.”
The Queens season will start on the road this weekend as they head down to Lethbridge on Saturday to battle with the Kodiaks at 2 p.m. before traveling out to Medicine Hat to take on the Rattlers at noon on Sunday.
For more information on this historic year last year and the upcoming season visit: RDPolytechnicathletics.ca.
Cayden Nickel and Makayla Willows first ever CCRA champions from Red Deer Polytechnic
RDP Royals Rodeo team excels at Canadian Collegiate Rodeo Association finals
Makayla Willows and Cayden Nickel of the Red Deer Polytechnic (RDP) Royals Rodeo team finished as the top competitors at the Canadian Collegiate Rodeo Association (CCRA) Finals May 19-21 in Brooks.
“Makayla and Cayden had an outstanding weekend,” says Trina Carroll, RDP Royals Program Lead. “They put in the work and were rewarded. I want to send a huge shoutout to all competitors and the CCRA Board of Directors, including Jamie Kuzma, who was our main contact at the CCRA.”
Buck Lake’s Willows earned the prestigious honour of 2023 CCRA Cowgirl of the Year by accumulating the most points among female competitors at the Silver Sage Community Corral over the weekend.
“I am thankful for the support from the RDP Royals Rodeo team, our wonderful coaches, and my family,” says Willows, who is graduating with an RDP Social Work Diploma in June. “I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to have been able to compete in the CCRA Finals. After working hard throughout the season, it was rewarding to complete my last year in College Rodeo as the Heeling Season Leader along with qualifying for the finals in Barrel Racing, Breakaway Roping and Pole Bending.”
As heeler in Team Roping, Willows consistently demonstrated her expertise in roping steers by their hind feet after the header – who was Nickel – roped the front of the steer.
“For being recognized as the High Point Cowgirl of the Year alongside my Team Roping partner Cayden, we were each awarded a beautiful saddle and buckle as Cowgirl and Cowboy of the Year,” adds Willows. “It is a very humbling honor and an amazing way to end my final College Rodeo experience.”
Nickel, who is from Evansburg, was named the CCRA Cowboy of the Year and CCRA Tie Down Roping Champion. He just completed his first year of a Bachelor of Kinesiology and Sport Studies Degree at RDP.
“It was such an awesome experience,” says Nickel about competing in the CCRA Finals. “We had a lot of fun and I can’t wait for next year.”
In addition to Willows and Nickel placing first overall in the CCRA, they made Red Deer Polytechnic history.
“In 10 years of competing in the CCRA Finals, this is the first time that RDP students have achieved the High Point Award in both the Cowboy and Cowgirl categories,” explains Carroll. “We are so proud of Makayla and Cayden.”
The next CCRA season will begin in Fall 2023.
About Red Deer Polytechnic Royals Rodeo: RDP Royals Rodeo is an elite post-secondary sports program that provides opportunities for students to compete outside of the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC), of which the RDP Kings and Queens are members. Since its establishment in 2013, the RDP Royals Rodeo program has grown from three student-athletes up to 40 members. The Red Deer Polytechnic Rodeo team has consistently been competitive in the CCRA, qualifying for the finals every year over the past decade. The 2022/2023 RDP Royals Rodeo team consisted of 12 dedicated student-athletes.
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