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Not playing any favorites

Perhaps the schedule maker wasn’t so kind to the Rustlers.

The Lakeland College women’s volleyball team is surely in an interesting predicament to start the second half of the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference season.

Perhaps predicament isn’t the right word, but the remainder of the ACAC north division schedule is filled with interesting scenarios that’s sure to test the third-place Rustlers in different ways.

The club hasn’t played a competitive game since Dec. 3 and won’t suit up again until Jan. 13, when they play the fifth-place Keyano College Huskies at the Lakeland gym.

Between the opening series against the Huskies, and the final series of the season against the Grande Prairie Wolves, the club won’t play a winning team until they face the second-place Wolves (10-2) in a crucial road tilt in mid February.

That’s a span of eight games with teams playing at .500 or worse.

“It’s going to be an interesting semester for us, being that there’s a big divide in the north division between the top and the bottom teams,” Rustlers head coach Austin Dyer said. “We’re going to have to find a way to be extremely competitive every weekend. We have to make sure that we can execute and we can battle.”

For a club looking to win the north division that span could be seen as found money, but it also could be a tip toe through the mine field at night. It’s Dyer’s job to make sure that doesn’t happen.

“For the most part it’s about sticking to the process of what we’re trying to do,” Dyer said. “Come to the gym focused, everyday, to make sure we’re competing at the highest level.”

But the Rustlers have proved they’re capable of bringing down the house against the lesser lights. The club is 8-0 against the bottom four teams.

“It’s kind of a team thing (and) we talk about it every week,” Rustlers setter Rae Sigurdson said. “We say ‘we can’t not show up.’ If we don’t (show up) we’ll lose and we can’t afford to drop a game to a team we’re not supposed to.”

With the extended break just completed, teams develop a new sense of purpose and get a chance to turn the season on its ear. It’s a fresh start with new possibilities but that doesn’t seen to matter to the veteran setter.

“We’re (going to) play our game,” Sigurdson said. “We’ll control the game and however we play the game is how it’s going to go. The other team doesn’t get to control us.”

Gordon Anderson
The Meridian Booster

Posted: January 10, 2017

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