MEDICINE HAT, AB — Mark Porter admits he took a chance in recruiting Alfred Dalevik from Sweden four years ago.
The head coach for the men's volleyball team at Medicine Hat College wasn't sure what type of player he would evolve into as his Rattlers career progressed.
"We were really nervous about him and his ability to maintain composure on the court," said Porter. "He would make an error, and then it would be a continuous influx of mental errors."
Dalevik learned, and matured, quickly.
Today, as the 23-year-old prepares for his final two matches of his ACAC career, he's a leader both on and off the court, and a role model for those new to the program.
"He's certainly our most solid and well-rounded player," continued Porter. "He has really matured into what I would consider to be a true Rattler athlete. He does really well academically. He's good in the community, and he leads on the court as well."
It's only fitting that as his Rattlers career nears its end, Dalevik's name is inked into the Rattlers history books.
Porter tabulated the numbers and discovered the Swedish outside has broken the Rattlers record for most kills. Dalevik's mark of 673 easily surpasses that of former teammate and CCAA Player of the Year Isak Helland-Hansen's 614.
"I had no clue, it's nothing that we keep track of ourselves," said Dalevik when asked if he was aware he had broken the record. "The goal is never to set records personally, right? You just want to go out there and win as a team."
Once this weekend wraps up, there's a good chance Dalevik will have another record next to his name.
He's just 13 digs behind Brendan Lutz's all-time high mark of 456 — a record set nearly a decade ago. Lutz will be keeping a keen eye on Dalevik this weekend, seeing he's one of the Rattlers assistant coaches.
There's no doubt in Porter's mind Dalevik will catch Lutz's record.
"It says a lot about how well-rounded of a player he is that he's able to achieve these in more than one specialization," added Porter, noting Dalevik also sits tied for the second most aces in the program's history with 77, however, will not catch Helland-Hansen's record of 122.
But the top of mind for Dalevik aren't individual accomplishments. He's solely focused on qualifying for the ACAC Provincial Championship.
The Rattlers fate lies in their own hands as they eye up a home-and-home series against the SAIT Trojans to wrap up regular season play.
Medicine Hat sits in the fourth and final playoff spot in the ACAC's South Conference, two points back of SAIT in third and two points clear of Briercrest University in fifth.
Briercrest takes on the lowly Ambrose University Lions twice this weekend. If Briercrest sweeps the Lions, and the Trojans do the same to the Rattlers, Briercrest would overtake the Rattlers for the final ticket to provincials.
Dalevik doesn't want to take any chances.
"We need to win both games against SAIT this weekend to make playoffs," said Dalevik. "It's obviously very important. I've never missed playoffs in my other three years here and I don't plan on doing it this year either."
Porter echos Dalevik's thoughts.
"If we win both, we get third place which gives you a much easier path to win the provincial championship," said Porter. "We control our own fate by winning two. If we win two, we're in for sure. If we only win one, then we have to wait and see what happens with Ambrose and Briercrest and chances are Briercrest will win both of those and they'll knock us out of the playoffs."
The men's and women's Rattlers teams take a trip to SAIT Friday night before welcoming the Trojans for their final matches of the regular season on Saturday. The ladies lead the charge both night with the first serve at 6:00 p.m.
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