Underdog Crusaders win gold in barnburner

The Vanier Crusaders senior boys had a rough regular season. They didn't win a single match during the Super Volley season in Whitehorse and they lost in the final at the Dawson Invitational Volleyball Tournament.

The Vanier Crusaders senior boys had a rough regular season. They didn’t win a single match during the Super Volley season in Whitehorse and they lost in the final at the Dawson Invitational Volleyball Tournament.

But when the team needed – and wanted – wins the most, they got them.

The Crusaders won the senior boys division of the Pepsi Yukon Volleyball Championships in a grueling marathon final against the F.H. Collins Warriors at Porter Creek Secondary School on Saturday.

Vanier upset the tournament favourites by a score of 26-24, 26-24, 20-25, 21-25, 16-14.

“I feel like we’ve always been close in the games but we’ve haven’t had that final push to win the games,” said Crusaders captain and tournament All-Star Jon Koltun. “I think our coaches helped us to develop that final push and the desire to win the games.”

Koltun and power Cody Park were key ingredients in the Crusaders’ success.

RELATED:See slideshow of the tournament.

Vanier took the first set with back-to-back kills from Park and the second set on back-to-back kills from Koltun. In the fifth set Park had two more kills to get match-point before teammate Ethan Robinson made his third block of the match for the win.

Koltun finished the match with 20 kills, five digs and two blocks.

Park, who was named Tournament MVP, had 18 kills, eight digs and two blocks.

“I thought it was great. I was pretty happy,” said Park. “Near the end of the tournament we began getting pretty pumped for the games and we started playing a lot better.

“I think I could have done better. I was pretty sore the whole time. I have a lot of injuries. My left ankle is sprained and both my knees are pretty messed up from training. And I jammed my finger again.”

The Warriors were the team to beat at the championship, having won the Dawson tournament at the end of October and having gone undefeated during the Whitehorse high school Super Volley season.

“That was a tough one,” said Warriors head coach Shaun McLoughlin. “We were the favourite coming in … But that was the Vanier team, right from the beginning of the year, I was waiting to show up.

[image2]

“I’ve coached Cody and Jon and I know what talent they have, and I was waiting for them to have that breakout match. It finally came in the finals. It was very well timed for them.

“I don’t think of us having lost this match. Vanier stepped up and won it.”

The Crusaders basically started winning at the last possible moment. Only the top four of the five teams in the senior boys division advanced into the playoffs and Vanier only won one of their four matches to squeak into the semifinal as the No. 4 seed.

They then beat the Porter Creek Rams after facing three match-points in the third set. Down 14-11, the Crusaders won five straight points to win and reach the final. Park secured the win with two kills to finish off the Rams.

“We’re a young team. There are four Grade 11s and only two guys who had been to the Yukon championship at the senior level before,” said Crusaders head coach Dustin Shewfelt. “I had a talk with Cody and Jon – the two guys from last year’s team – and I basically put it on their shoulders that they’re the leaders of the team.

“I told them, how they play is how the team is going to do.”

Leading the charge for the Warriors in the final was Marten Sealy with 15 kills, two digs and a block. Warriors All-Star Stephen Grundmanis had 11 kills, four digs and two aces and fellow All-Star Kieran Small had seven kills, seven digs and two blocks.

“Kieran and Stephen, those two are rock solid,” said McLoughlin. “We can always rely on them and they made a difference.

“In the third set, towards the end, I put Dominic Korn in and that made a big difference. That was a turning point for us to win those two sets. He provided a bigger block to shut down Cody (Park).”

The Porter Creek Rams captured the bronze with a win over Dawson’s Robert Service School Knights.

All-Star team

Riley Andrews (Rams)

Jon Koltun (Crusaders)

Kieran Small (Warriors)

Alastair Findlay-Brook (Knights)

Stephen Grundmanis (Warriors)

Cody Park (Crusaders)

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Willow Brewster, a paramedic helping in the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre, holds a swab used for the COVID-19 test moments before conducting a test with it on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
An inside look at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre

As the active COVID-19 case count grew last week, so too did… Continue reading

Conservation officers search for a black bear in the Riverdale area in Whitehorse on Sept. 17. The Department of Environment intends to purchase 20 semi-automatic AR-10 rifles, despite the inclusion of the weapons in a recently released ban introduced by the federal government, for peace officers, such as conservation officers. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Environment Minister defends purchase of AR-10 rifles for conservation officers

The federal list of banned firearms includes an exception for peace officers

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: The K-shaped economic recovery and what Yukoners can do about it

It looks like COVID-19 will play the role of Grinch this holiday… Continue reading

Jodie Gibson has been named the 2020 Prospector of the Year by the Yukon Prospectors Association. (Submitted)
Jodie Gibson named 2020 Prospector of the Year

Annual award handed out by the Yukon Prospector’s Association

A number 55 is lit in honour of Travis Adams, who died earlier this year, at the Winter Wonderland Walk at Meadow Lakes Golf Club in Whitehorse on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
A new take on holiday traditions

Winter Wonderland Walk, virtual Stories with Santa all part of 2020 festive events in Whitehorse

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Colin McDowell, the director of land management for the Yukon government, pulls lottery tickets at random during a Whistle Bend property lottery in Whitehorse on Sept. 9, 2019. A large amount of lots are becoming available via lottery in Whistle Bend as the neighbourhood enters phase five of development. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Lottery for more than 250 new Whistle Bend lots planned for January 2021

Eight commercial lots are being tendered in additional to residential plots

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21. The Canada Border Services Agency announced Nov. 26 that they have laid charges against six people, including one Government of Yukon employee, connected to immigration fraud that involved forged Yukon government documents. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Charges laid in immigration fraud scheme, warrant out for former Yukon government employee

Permanent residency applications were submitted with fake Yukon government documents

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Karen Wenkebach has been appointed as a judge for the Yukon Supreme Court. (Yukon News file)
New justice appointed

Karen Wenckebach has been appointed as a judge for the Supreme Court… Continue reading

Catherine Constable, the city’s manager of legislative services, speaks at a council and senior management (CASM) meeting about CASM policy in Whitehorse on June 13, 2019. Constable highlighted research showing many municipalities require a lengthy notice period before a delegate can be added to the agenda of a council meeting. Under the current Whitehorse procedures bylaw, residents wanting to register as delegates are asked to do so by 11 a.m. on the Friday ahead of the council meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Changes continue to be contemplated for procedures bylaw

Registration deadline may be altered for delegates

Cody Pederson of the CA Storm walks around LJ’s Sabres player Clay Plume during the ‘A’ division final of the 2019 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament. The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28 in Whitehorse next year, was officially cancelled on Nov. 24 in a press release from organizers. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament cancelled

The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28… Continue reading

Lev Dolgachov/123rf
The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner stressed the need to safeguard personal information while shopping this holiday season in a press release on Nov. 24.
Information and Privacy Commissioner issues reminder about shopping

The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner Diane McLeod-McKay stressed the need to… Continue reading

Most Read