Crusader teams open season with wins

Loaded with Team Yukon players from the Western Canada Summer Games, both the Vanier Crusader senior teams will be ones to watch this Super Volley season...

Loaded with Team Yukon players from the Western Canada Summer Games, both the Vanier Crusader senior teams will be ones to watch this Super Volley season.

The two teams opened their season with four-set wins over the Porter Creek Rams on Thursday at Porter Creek Secondary.

Vanier’s boys took their match 25-14, 25-17, 24-26, 25-20 while the Crusader girls, with four Western Games players, captured a 25-18, 19-25, 25-11, 25-23 win over the Rams.

“(Six) of them played with me all summer, went to the Western Canada Summer Games, and they’ve been playing together since they were little,” said Crusader boys head coach Russ Tait, who coached Team Yukon at the Games in Kamloops.

The Crusader boys came out with guns blazing on Thursday, jumping out to a 23-13 lead with eight consecutive points on the serve of Michael Hunter.

The team then took the set on a monster block from Albert Spycher.

Vanier’s starting lineup continued to shine in the second, cruising to a 13-4 lead, eventually taking the set on a back-row-attack violation from the Rams.

Even with Vanier’s second line out in the third set it was close, getting to match-point at 24-23. However, two big spikes off blockers from Ram Josh Kelly gave his team the set.

“It’s good for the other guys who are learning to get their shot in there,” said Tait of his second line. “That third set I threw them in there to give them some game experience. For some of the Grade 11s, it’s their first Super Volley experience, so it’s fun for them.”

The Crusaders reached match point on a first-touch return from Justin Dragoman before a failed spike from the Rams ended the match.

“In the sets we lost I think we were too uptight. We had some nerve problems and need to get a little looser, swing a little harder,” said Rams captain Peter Hansen, who was his team’s Player of the Game. “In the sets we won we were lighthearted and enjoying the game – I think that was a big part of it.”

Mason Gray was named Player of the Game for the Crusaders.

“Mason, over the last two years, has grown a ton – grown a foot, I’d say,” said Tait. “He’s played every position for me … he’s a real versatile player.”

In their season opener the previous night, the Rams came back from a set down to beat the FH Collins Warriors 23-25, 25-13, 25-16, 25-14.

At the Western Canada Summer Games in August, Yukon’s boys team took a set off BC and Saskatchewan, a feat only accomplished once before for the Yukon at a major Games.

Scrambled Rams winless after two

The start of the season is a prudent time for experimentation. That’s what the Rams’ senior girls are doing – mixing up lines, trying out players in different positions.

“I think we’ll solidify a few different positions,” said Rams head coach Jordan Borgford. “I had three setters tonight, two liberos, I had people trying different positions because I wanted them to try different things.

“There were some good rallies on both sides, but sometimes the girls get nervous and free-ball it over. I just want them to swing.”

The Rams suffered their second loss in two games this season on Thursday against the Crusaders after taking a close 25-14, 25-23, 21-25, 15-25, 16-14 loss to the FH Collins Warriors the previous night.

“I think we played a lot better tonight,” said Rams captain Kiana Palamar. “We mixed up our lineup a lot, so that flustered us a little bit. We’ mixed up a lot of positions; I normally set, but I played power this one.”

The Crusaders snatched the opening set on a cross-court kill from Vanier Player of the Game Bailey Kuzma before the Rams tied the match, taking the second set on a bump off the net cord from Porter Creek’s Megan Lanigan.

The Crusaders took back the lead, winning the third set on an ace down the line from Sam Henney. Another ace, this one from Tatum Koser, gave the Crusaders match point in the fourth before a net serve from Ariel House closed the match.

For the Crusaders’ new head coach Kelly Bukowski, who recently moved to Whitehorse from Langley, BC, the play he has seen thus far has been impressive.

“I think it was great,” said Bukowski. “I’m not from the Yukon – I’m from British Columbia – and I’m really impressed with the players up here, the coaching staff, the other teams, and it seems like everyone works hard. But at the same time they’re trying to improve everyone.

“It’s great to be up here.”

Playing in at least three different positions in the game – like so much of her team – Rowan Brown was Player of the Game for the Rams.

“She’s a consistent server, a consistent player, passes up really well and can always hit it,” said Palamar.

“(We need to) iron out the kinks, get our passes a little nicer, get our hits in,” she added. “We really just have to figure out how to work together as a team.

“Watch out because we’re coming back.”

Contact Tom Patrick at

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

Just Posted

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Are they coming?

One of COVID-19’s big economic questions is whether it will prompt a… Continue reading

Yukon MP Larry Bagnell, along with Yukon health and education delegates, announce a new medical research initiative via a Zoom conference on Jan. 21. (Screen shot)
New medical research unit at Yukon University launched

The SPOR SUPPORT Unit will implement patient-first research practices

Yukon First Nation Education Directorate members Bill Bennett, community engagement coordinator and Mobile Therapeutic Unit team lead, left, and Katherine Alexander, director of policy and analytics, speak to the News about the Mobile Therapeutic Unit that will provide education and health support to students in the communities. (
Mobile Therapeutic Unit will bring education, health support to Indigenous rural students

The mobile unit will begin travelling to communities in the coming weeks

Premier Sandy Silver, left, and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley, speak during a live stream in Whitehorse on January 20, about the new swish and gargle COVID-19 tests. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Swish and spit COVID-19 test now available in Yukon

Vaccination efforts continue in Whitehorse and smaller communities in the territory

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment in Faro photgraphed in 2016. Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old building currently accommodating officers. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Faro RCMP tagged for new detachment

Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old… Continue reading

In a Jan. 18 announcement, the Yukon government said the shingles vaccine is now being publicly funded for Yukoners between age 65 and 70, while the HPV vaccine program has been expanded to all Yukoners up to and including age 26. (
Changes made to shingles, HPV vaccine programs

Pharmacists in the Yukon can now provide the shingles vaccine and the… Continue reading

Parking attendant Const. Ouellet puts a parking ticket on the windshield of a vehicle in downtown Whitehorse on Dec. 6, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is hoping to write of nearly $300,000 in outstanding fees, bylaw fines and court fees, $20,225 of which is attributed to parking fines issued to non-Yukon license plates. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City of Whitehorse could write off nearly $300,000

The City of Whitehorse could write off $294,345 in outstanding fees, bylaw… Continue reading

Grants available to address gender-based violence

Organizations could receive up to $200,000

In this illustration, artist-journalist Charles Fripp reveals the human side of tragedy on the Stikine trail to the Klondike in 1898. A man chases his partner around the tent with an axe, while a third man follows, attempting to intervene. (The Daily Graphic/July 27, 1898)
History Hunter: Charles Fripp — gold rush artist

The Alaskan coastal town of Wrangell was ill-equipped for the tide of… Continue reading

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. While Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis is now setting his sights on the upcoming territorial election, other members of council are still pondering their election plans for the coming year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillors undecided on election plans

Municipal vote set for Oct. 21

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

A look at decicions made by Whitehorse city council this week.

A file photo of grizzly bear along the highway outside Dawson City. Yukon conservation officers euthanized a grizzly bear Jan. 15 that was originally sighted near Braeburn. (Alistair Maitland/Yukon News file)
Male grizzly euthanized near Braeburn

Yukon conservation officers have euthanized a grizzly bear that was originally sighted… Continue reading

Most Read