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Rustlers men’s spikers sing winning tune

The Rustlers head into the holiday season with some glad tidings about their most recent win.

The Lakeland College Rustlers men’s volleyball team earned a split against The Kings University Eagles in Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference play over the weekend.

On Friday night the Rustlers were swept by the Eagles in three-straight games (25-23, 25-14, 25-17) in Edmonton, and returned the favour Saturday night as the Rustlers beat the Eagles in five games (22-25, 25-23, 25-15, 18-25, 15-13) at the Lakeland gym.

“There were a lot of great rallies and it was a very exciting and entertaining match to watch,” Rustlers head coach Austin Dyer said about Saturday night. “If I was a guy sitting in the stands, I would have been pretty entertained.”

Dyer was most pleased when his club got down in the final set but they pulled themselves up by the bootstraps and were rewarded a win that sent the Lakeland faithful home with a smile.

“It was a real gutsy win for our guys and they battled for every point,” Dyer said. “Even when I thought they were out of it, they battled back. We came back from 7-1 and 12-6 in the fifth set. To have that kind of guts and determination to follow through and get it done speaks volumes about the kind of character the guys have.”

The Rustlers have played four games against the Eagles and are 1-3 in those games. Both teams have combined for 14 sets with seven of them decided by five points or less and seven by six points or more.

Even though Kings (9-5) are in second place, the Rustlers have competed tough through 14 sets of play. That goes to show the parody in the north division. Small errors can make a big difference in tight games.

“Anybody can win on any night and that’s the exciting thing about our conference and how good the volleyball is,” Dyer said. “You have to be your best every night or you’re not going to win. There’s not that big of a gap between anybody in our conference … it’s so close every weekend, every match, that whatever team comes to play and doesn’t make errors is going to be the team that’s going to win.”

The Rustlers are 5-9 and sit fifth in the north division as the Christmas break takes precedence. While Dyer probably didn’t envision his club in this exact position, he’s still got enough positivity for everybody on his team, but he mixes that with reality too. After all the club is 5-2 at home and 0-7 away from the friendly confines of the Lakeland College gym.

“Inconsistent is a good word for our play,” Dyer said. “We’ve yet to win on the road, which is, obviously, a significant thing we have to try and fix. If we can be more consistent two nights in a row, that will go a long way to helping us accomplish that. At the same time, there are good things happening. Just to see the improvement in the group from day one until now is pretty significant.”

Gordon Anderson
The Meridian Booster

Posted:  December 7, 2016

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