The NAIT Ooks’ Women’s volleyball team finished third in the North Division standings this season which has earned them a playoff spot and a first round playoff match up with the Red Deer College Queens.
NAIT were 8-4 at home and on the road finishing with a 16-8 record. The Ooks had a back and forth season, flip-flopping between wins and losses unable to get a string of wins going. The Ooks split their last six games going into the ACAC championships.
This year’s version of the Ooks squad rely on their hitting. The Ooks have the second best hitting percentage in the the whole conference. Outside hitter Hannah Gorgichuk leads the team in kills with 228 and points per set (PPS) with 3.1 pps.
The Red Deer College Volleyball program is no stranger to championships. The men’s team has won three of the last four championships. While the women’s team has won two of the last four championships.
The Queens of Red Deer College finished second in the South Division with a 18-6 record. The Queens won five of their last six games and look strong heading into the postseason.
The Queens are second in the conference in total blocks with 183. They are also second in the conference in blocks per set (BPS) with 2.13 bps. Right side Mckenna Barthel leads the Queens in solo blocks with 27. Middle Hanna Delemont leads the team in assisted blocks with 20. RDC hopes their blocking will be able to contain the Ooks hitters.
NAIT and Red Deer College met early in the season. That match ended in a 3-0 sweep for Red Deer College.
Since their last match both teams have had different seasons. Red Deer has had another typical RDC season, waiting for another championship run. While NAIT had to find out what they are made out of early and often. RDC is led by a group of fourth year student-athletes. While NAIT is still growing with second year athletes at the helm.
This will be the second straight year that NAIT and Red Deer meet in the first round of the ACAC championships. Last year, the Ooks lost to the Queens in three-straight sets. This year, the Ooks hope they learned enough from the defeat to give the Queens a early playoff exit.The University of Alberta/Augustana are hosting the ACAC Championship playoffs. These playoffs will be held on February 22-24, 2018.
– Peter Go