FH Collins’ gymnasium was once again filled with digs, spikes and kills as high school volleyball got under way last week.
When it was over, the girls’ and boys’ FHC Warriors teams came away with a loss and a win, with both losing to the Porter Creek Rams Thursday and beating the Vanier Crusaders Friday.
Rams triumph in five sets
Just a week before, the boys’ Rams and Warriors travelled south together to compete in the UBC Invitational, each returning with a 1-4 record.
However, the two teams found themselves on opposite sides of the net in their season opener Thursday.
Trading momentum shifts from set to set, the Rams bounced back from losing the opening set to win in an exciting five-setter, 21-25, 25-13, 25-22, 23-25, 15-13.
“It was pretty hard for any team to get some momentum there,” said Warriors coach Al Foster. “That’s volleyball though — it’s an up and down sport.”
After maintaining a small lead to take the first set, the Warriors’ game floundered in the second, suffering a seven-point deficit early on at 10-3.
“It’s a part of the game we’re really working on: the mental aspect,” said Foster.
“You just have to be so mentally tough when you play this game … it’s hard to stay focused all the time.”
Rams setter Riley Smith was named player of the game.
“Being a setter is difficult because players are expecting good sets,” said Rams coach Sukh Sandhu. “He’s like the arm of the coach, so I’m always in his ear…
“He’s going to be a really great player, and he really gets it … Down the road, in my mind, he’s going to be a college player.”
goes to Rams
In a game where serving made all the difference, Porter Creek’s girls began their season with a win Thursday at FHC, beating the Warriors 25-16, 25-20, 16-25, 25-19.
“You had to try to break that serve,” said Warriors coach Jennifer Norris. “So you call a time-out or you make an adjustment in the serving section, but the rally point is definitely about who can keep the momentum going that way.”
Warriors Chantai Minet won a total of 10 points on her serve in the third set, with five straight service winners early on to make it 9-4 and then leading her team to a 24-16 lead at the end with more service winners and an ace.
“Chantai served a couple rotations,” said Rams coach Jordan Borgford. “We were stuck in a bad rotation and we just want the girls to fight through those kinds of things and figure them out on their own.”
Zara Neukom of the Rams was named player of the game.
“She’s a good leader on the court, she’s very vocal,” said Borgford of Neukom. “She takes command of situations where you’re not sure whose ball it is. She’ll always step in, take that role and direct the court that way. And she was effective at the net hitting.”
Crusaders in four
After losing the closest set of the week, the girls’ Warriors team dug deep to win three straight in a 24-26, 25-19, 25-21, 25-23 victory over the Crusaders Friday.
“I’ve been trying out lots of different lineups,” said Crusaders coach Kyla Fraser. “So the girls haven’t really become used to a specific lineup, so they’re really just learning the new team.”
Things looked ominous early on for the Warriors when they lost the first set after taking a 15-7 lead. Led by the pinpoint serving of Crusaders Brittany Waddington, Vanier went on a scoring spree, eventually tying the set 16-16.
“What happened there was that their server kept picking away at us,” said Norris. “And they got a little rattled, and they couldn’t bring it back. And their passes were a little too close to the top of the tape and (our setter) Rhiannon (Jones) couldn’t make choices up there.”
Despite the loss, Crusaders Ateca Mills was named player of the game.
“She was amazing,” said Mills’ teammate Ashley Reynolds. “She was really good at getting every ball up. So even if it was a troubled play, she really got herself there and put it over. And her swings were really on tonight.”
season’s first win
It looked as if the game was en route to a fifth set Friday, as the boys’ Crusaders team took a 7-0 lead in the fourth set. However, the Warriors battled back, eventually tying the set 17-17, on their way to a 25-20, 25-17, 21-25, 25-23 win.
“Just getting rid of the jitters a little bit and game experience,” said Vanier coach Dwayne Stoker, speaking of his team’s progress in the third and fourth sets.
“These guys haven’t played anybody other than our opening seeding tournament. And both FH Collins and Porter Creek … just got back from a big tournament at UBC, so they have that game experience — and they played last night.
“It’s all pretty tight between those three in town,” he added, speaking of the three Whitehorse teams.
Warriors Harrison Ewing was named player of the game.
Vanier boys’ will be travelling to Calgary mid-month to compete in a senior varsity tournament.