By Nik Kowalski
Men: Rebels win second set of season
A 3-1 loss to the Assiniboine Community College Cougars (ACC) Saturday afternoon was a small step of progress for the winless Red River College Rebels (RRC) men’s volleyball team.
The Rebels won their second set of the season during the four-set loss (25-21, 23-25, 25-15, 25-20) at the Notre Dame Campus.
ACC (7-4) also took Friday’s match over RRC (0-10) but in straight sets (25-9, 30-28, 25-23).
Saturday started where Friday ended — close sets with RRC coming up just short. Both teams were tied at 16 points before ACC closed out Saturday’s opening set race to 25.
“We had some chances late to win (sets) today,” said Rebels head coach Chris Voth. “It’s not anyone’s fault it’s just kind of how volleyball works at that point.”
Brady De Dominicis, who led RRC in kills at the December break, played a massive role and was a bright spot for RRC on Saturday.
Down 21-17 in the second frame, De Dominicis ran down a ball on the other side of the court, bumped it back to his side and RRC ultimately finished with the point. RRC went on to score three-straight points and later win the set 25-23.
“It’s about focusing on every point and pushing your hardest to achieve what you want,” said De Dominicis postgame while talking about that moment.
RRC jumped out to an 8-4 lead in the third before ACC rattled off seven consecutive points. To no surprise, a De Dominicis block at the net ended the Cougars’ run.
“He’s (De Dominicis) done well throughout the whole season,” said Voth. “He’s there day-in and day-out and the guys really respect his dedication.”
But it was all Cougars from that point, who took the third set by ten and fought off a Rebels push in the fourth and final set.
The men will aim for their first win Thursday when they host the Providence University College Pilots (8-2), starting at 6 p.m.
Women: Playoff hopes take hit after slow starts
One key score appeared three times during the ACC victory over the RRC women’s volleyball team Saturday — 9-1.
Every set the Cougars won, they started off by scoring nine of its first ten points.
The Rebels (2-8) took a set in between, dropping the match in four sets (25-14, 26-28, 25-18, 25-13) to the Cougars (6-5).
“Well, we’ve played better games,” said RRC head coach Dan McGregor postgame. “I think there was a bit of rust (from the winter break) that we weren’t quite able to shake off.”
ACC took ten of the first 11 points to begin the first set en route to an 11-point set win. Chloe Orteza and RRC fought back in the second, overcoming a 20-15 deficit before inching out a 28-26 win to even things up at one.
The entire match was streaky but reached new heights in the third frame. ACC opened the set on their usual 9-1 run, but the Rebels mustered up 14 of the next 21 points to cut the lead to one point. ACC then pushed back with six straight points and won the set 25-18 after a Rebels’ net violation.
“I don’t want that to be a staple of what we do on an ongoing basis,” said McGregor when talking about the game’s point swings. “But we’ve done it in the past, so we like to have that optimism that you fight through it.”
With the weekend losses, RRC remains in last place and on the outside of the playoff bracket.
“We’re going to have to find a way to clean up some mistakes, play a little more consistently, and develop some confidence and team unity,” said McGregor. “Getting everyone on the same page is going to be key.”
Next on the schedule for RRC is the PUC College Pilots (4-6), who will visit the Notre Dame Campus at 7:30 this Thursday.