Crusaders become giant killers in volleyball final

Within the gymnasium at Vanier Catholic Secondary there is a plaque above a door that reads: It isn't the hours you put in, it's what you put into the hours.

Within the gymnasium at Vanier Catholic Secondary there is a plaque above a door that reads: It isn’t the hours you put in, it’s what you put into the hours.

The Vanier Crusaders senior boys team put a lot into their hours to win the senior boys division of the Pepsi Volleyball Yukon Championships at Porter Creek Secondary on Saturday.

“We were definitely the underdogs, there’s no hiding from that,” said Crusaders head coach Jeremy Staveley. “There are nine guys here … and they came to practice and worked and worked and worked. They might not have the same amount of experience as the other team, but they sure had the work ethic.”

Vanier defeated the F.H. Collins Warriors 25-23, 25-22 in the final for the title.

The Crusaders, who finished third in Whitehorse’s Super Volley league, weren’t the underdogs because they were weak, rather because the Warriors were so strong.

The loss prevented the Warriors from capturing the team’s first triple crown, having already won the Dawson Invitational Volleyball Tournament and the Super Volley title.

In fact, the loss was the Warriors’ only one since the start of the Super Volley season.

So what went wrong?

“I’m still trying to figure that out, actually,” said Warriors head coach Shaun McLoughlin the day after the loss. “I thought the guys were fairly calm to start, but as soon as Vanier started pressing a lot harder than they had all year – that was probably the best match I’ve seen Vanier play all year – it caught the guys off guard a bit. I don’t think they knew how to react.

“It was really the first time we’ve been pressed all year by a team up here. No matter how much we prepared for that in practice, the nerves just threw the guys off.”

The Warriors looked on their way to the title early on, taking a 13-6 lead in the first set. The Crusaders eventually moved to within two on a kill from power Zach Giczi followed by a block by Noah Kitchen to make it 22-20.

Then the wheels came off for the Warriors. Vanier tied the game 23-23 on two missed Warrior attacks and a line violation. A lifting violation and a botched Warrior attack ended the set.

It took five match-points for Vanier to complete the upset. Up 24-17, Vanier missed an attack, Warriors’ Tristan Sparks scored two points with big blocks, and Giczi missed a spike.

Giczi would make it up. At 24-22, after two big digs by libero Mustafa Syed, Giczi delivered one last kill. He was named tournament MVP.

“It feels great, I’m super glad,” said Giczi. “But I couldn’t have done it without my team. I wouldn’t have won MVP if I didn’t have Libero Mustafa passing up balls, everyone working hard to get balls up. I never would have won without my setter Louis (Kedziora), he played really well and got balls up to me every game – perfect sets.”

The win marked Vanier’s third straight Yukon senior boys title. Last year had a similar story with the Crusaders going winless in Super Volley before winning the championships in a barnburner against the Warriors.

“I don’t know how we pull it off every year, but Vanier always comes through the backdoor of every tournament,” said Crusaders captain Louis Kedziora. “We lose every game up to it and then we win the last championship. I’m surprised that every year we pull it off somehow.

“After Dawson we all just buckled down and the coach told us we really had to work our asses off to get this medal,” he added. “We all went to every practice and we just buckled down and put everything in and we got it.”

Vanier reached the final with a win over the Porter Creek Rams in the semifinal. Dawson’s Robert Service School Knights captured the bronze with a straight-set win over the Rams.

Giczi credited “a lot of hard work throughout the season” for the Crusaders’ triumph. “We practiced so hard, everyone showed up for practice every day. We worked really hard for it.

“We lost our first two games of the tournament and from then on our coach told us: next we’re undefeated, no balls hit the floor without someone diving.

“We went out there and just put all our hearts into it.”

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

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

Eric Schroff, executive director with the Yukon Fish and Game Association, poses for a portrait on Feb. 20. Schroff says he is puzzled as to why the Yukon government is cutting back on funding for the association. (Jackie Hong/Yukon News file)
YG cuts Yukon Fish and Game Association funding, tried to vet outgoing communications

Yukon Fish and Game Association says 25 per cent government funding cut will impact operations

asdf
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Nov. 27, 2020

Premier Sandy Silver during a live update on the COVID-19 situation at a press conference in Whitehorse on March 27. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Total Yukon COVID case count increased to 42 cases

Premier urges patience after national meeting on vaccine roll-out

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

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

Keith Lay speaks at a city council meeting on Dec. 4, 2017. Lay provided the lone submission to council on the city’s proposed $33 million capital spending plan for 2021 on Nov. 23, taking issue with a number of projects outlined. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Resident raises issues with city’s capital budget

Council to vote on budget in December

Most Read