There was some added pressure for teams to perform well in the Super Volley season openers last Thursday at Vanier Catholic Secondary School.
The bleachers were almost full as the Vanier Crusaders and the F.H. Collins Warriors took the court in senior girls high school volleyball.
Vanier fans would not be disappointed. The Crusaders came back from down two sets to one to defeat the Warriors 25-20, 23-25, 19-25, 25-23, 15-13.
“The first set was good, but then we went a bit downhill,” said Crusaders co-head coach Jenna Tait. “It was a close match, but we’d be happy if it went the other way. The girls fought hard and we were very happy with the result.”
The Crusaders were just two points from defeat in the fourth and fifth set. Down 23-21, the Crusaders won four straight, capped with a kill from Youranty Pourier to take the fourth set.
Tied 13-13 in the fifth set, Crusaders’ Mel Moya dug a well-placed serve and found a hole on the Warriors’ side of the court. Vanier then took the match on a missed spike from the Warriors.
“I think the girls played pretty well,” said Warriors assistant coach Adam Robinson. “They really improved their net play, which we’ve been prasticing.
“They did a good job with their hits – they played smart front-row. It was really nice to see.”
Unfortunately for the Crusaders, momentum didn’t carry over to the following night.
Hosting the defending Yukon champion Porter Creek Rams, the Crusaders fell 25-13, 25-13, 22-25, 25-23 on Friday.
The Crusaders, who were missing three starting players on Friday including co-captain Kate Power, were twice penalized for falling out of rotation.
“Tonight’s game the girls started a little slower,” said Crusaders co-head coach Roz Tait on Friday. “We had a new rotation, we had a different setter to start off, so the girls might have been a bit flustered. So it took a little longer to warm up. Once they got more comfortable with each other and had more fun, things looked up.”
The Rams came into the game like a finely tuned machine, jumping out to a 7-1 lead with some fireball serves from Hannah Milner in the opening set. Milner later delivered three straight unreturned serves to win the set.
The Rams snagged the second set on a back-row kill from captain Daria Jordan for set-point and a kill from Alex Schultz.
“She’s a natural leader,” said Rams coach Amy Palamar of her captain. “The girls look to her for guidance and she’s a great all-around player, and I know I can count on her out there.”
Milner was again threading needles from the service line in the fourth set, helping her team go on a six-point run with her serve to go up 21-16. The Rams took the set and match on a missed kill by Vanier.
“I thought it was excellent,” said Palamar. “Everyone played well. I got to play everybody and we played a great game. There were poor moments, but no one played poorly.”
Super Volley will continue October 17 and 18 as the Porter Creek Rams take over the hosting duties. The Crusaders will visit on the 17th and the Warriors on the 18th.
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