Brent Forster – Red Deer Polytechnic Athletics
Red Deer, AB – The Red Deer Polytechnic Kings brought their most complete match of the season at the perfect time.
In Sunday’s Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) South Semi-final, the Kings had contributions across the lineup and swept the SAIT Trojans (25-20, 25-22 and 25-16).
“It was a solid match. SAIT is better than a four seed. We hadn’t really played full lineups versus full lineups yet,” said Aaron Schulha, Red Deer Polytechnic Kings Volleyball Head Coach. “They have some impressive weapons. Their setter [Jonatan Da silva] is very good, and [Ryan] Zachary on the right side and [Mitchell] Newman on the left side. We knew we had to neutralize those guys as best as we could.”
Zachary finished with 10 kills. Newman was limited to five kills.
The Trojans jumped out to an early lead, but the Kings remained composed and battled back.
“For the first seven to 10 points, they were outworking and outexecuting us. We looked a little tight,” added Schulha. “After that, the big difference was our service pressure and willingness to outwork them on the defensive end.”
North Star Sports Kings Player of the Game Maddux Greves (32 assists) had five aces, including a hot streak early in the match.
“Maddux’s run in the first set was a difference maker,” said Schulha. “We were down early and he came back around to the service line. We knew he’d get hot at some point.”
Collectively, the Kings’ serving was very effective.
“The guys did a strong job from the service line. We had 10 aces and only 14 errors, so that ratio is awesome,” explained Schulha. “I think we could have done a better job on the block end of things. Their setter is very quick to the pins so it’s hard to get your hands in a stable position, I do recognize that.”
Jeffrey Carreos, SAIT’s Player of the Game, made several key defensive plays. The third-year libero from Calgary recorded five digs in a hardworking effort.
RDP outside hitter Brett Lower (0.286 hitting percentage) contributed 11 kills, four digs and one ace.
“Brett had some really impressive plays at key times,” added Schulha. “He understands that he needs to play defence first, but also knows that he will get a lot of volume as a lefty opposite. He’s really steady and we are really excited to have him for four or five years.”
The first-year Bachelor of Science Nursing student from Red Deer appreciated his team’s compete level.
“They came out with a lot of energy and we did a good job of weathering the storm,” said Lower. “After the first 10 points, you could tell we were really into it – battling hard and doing a good on defence. Mitch Newman is a great player and we did a good job of touching him up.”
Greves connected with many weapons, including first-year outside hitter Nicholas Possingham (11 kills and 0.438 hitting percentage).
“Maddux does a good job of balancing our offence,” said Schulha. “We haven’t overloaded anybody.”
Greves to Gauci (18)
Dillon Gauci (seven kills and one block) and Cody Boulding (two kills and one block) contributed from the middle. Libero JJ Graham picked up five digs.
“It feels like it was our most complete match against a good opponent,” explained Schulha. “It was the perfect time to do it. We have a lot of belief within our group.”
NAIT will host the ACAC Final Four on March 11 and 12. The RDP Kings, Briercrest College Clippers, NAIT Ooks, and The King’s University Eagles will compete for a medal.
“It’s a matter of focusing on our opponent on Friday and not getting too far ahead of ourselves. We played NAIT and King’s all in one day when we traveled in the preseason, so it’s along time ago now. Both teams are solid,” said Schulha.
“We know what Briercrest has and we will watch video this week. The focus for our group needs to be on executing well on our side, because I don’t know if there are many teams that can keep up to us if we do that.”
Lower is looking forward to competing in the ACAC Final Four.
“It’s the first time that we will be playing the teams from the north, besides preseason, so it will be good to see the type of competition that they can bring,” he said. “We have to play at our highest level now – play hard every point and don’t take any points off.”
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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