There’s the expression, save the best for last.
Competing at the Canada Summer Games in PEI, the Yukon boys’ volleyball team is getting their best chance for a win last.
After three days of competition, the boys’ team has yet to register a win, most recently losing to Saskatchewan 25-17, 25-19, 25-15 Wednesday afternoon.
“I’d say we’re all fairly fatigued from the past few days - we’ve been playing some pretty hard games,” said Yukon’s Torey Wiebe, who finished the Saskatchewan game with two kills. “Our age and skill level compared to these guys’ skill level, it’s been pretty good.
“We were definitely flatfooted and tired. It’s hard to get the whole team up when everyone is feeling kind of groggy.”
Sitting at the bottom of their pool, on Thursday Yukon will play the loser of Wednesday’s PEI/New Brunswick game, a contest between the other bottom dwellers.
Having played some top teams with power-hitters, Yukon has learned many lessons and will be taking them into tomorrow’s game, said Yukon head coach Jordan Borgford.
“Our passes have been pretty good, we just need to clean up our defence a little bit,” said Borgford. “A big part for us, going into tomorrow, is knowing we can dig some balls against some really hard-hitters.”
The Yukon boys did managed to accumulate small two- and three-point leads in each set, but also went on a few small runs to nip at the heels of Saskatchewan.
“It’s nice to know that sometimes the boys can pull it together and get us on a run as well,” said Borgford. “A lot of the times, runs are a from errors on the other side. Other teams get runs against us when we put up a lot of errors.
“(But) we had a couple smart offensive plays in there.”
The previous night the Yukon boys faced the undefeated Quebec team, losing in straight sets, 25-12, 25-19, 25-15. The Yukon has such a young team that six members will still qualify for the next Summer Games in four years, so youth and inexperience was a factor, said Borgford.
“(Quebec’s) a powerhouse,” said Borgford. “They have more facial hair than I do, I think. They’re a big bunch of guys - strong, powerful, smart with a lot of game experience.
“They have so much offence and such tough defence, it’s tough to get on any sort of run.”
Although winless, the Yukon did pick up a set against Newfoundland, losing 25-17, 25-17, 22-25, 25-20. Before that was a 25-16, 25-14, 27-25 loss to Nova Scotia.
The Yukon began the Games with a matchup against the only other undefeated teams left in their pool, losing 25-10, 25-8, 25-8 to Ontario. Realistically, a win was out of the question, but the game did provide a chance for Yukon to calm their nerves and get used to playing in front of large crowds.
“We’ve worked out some jitters against the first game against Ontario, which is probably one of the best teams here,” said Wiebe. “We got used to the fact that there’s a crowd; a crowd is always a factor.”
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org