Crusaders end Super Volley with big comeback

The Porter Creek Rams were five points away from finishing the Super Volley season in first place, but the Vanier Crusaders weren't done yet. After dropping the first two sets, the Crusaders came back to win.

The Porter Creek Rams were five points away from finishing the Super Volley season in first place, but the Vanier Crusaders weren’t done yet.

After dropping the first two sets, the Crusaders came back to win 21-25, 22-25, 25-9, 25-21, 15-9 at Vanier Catholic Secondary on Wednesday.

The come-from-behind win put the Crusaders in first place to end the regular season in high school senior volleyball.

“We dug and found our motivation,” said Crusaders captain Meghan Young. “This is our last game this (Super Volley) season and us seniors stepped it up and brought our energy, tried to pick up the team.

“In the first two sets we were low on momentum, kind of doubting ourselves. The third, fourth and fifth set we pulled together and started playing awesome.”

The Crusaders took the third set on an ace from Sydney Young and the second set on a kill from middle Tatum Koser.

At match-point, the captain made a diving dig to keep the point going before Koser bumped a free ball that found a hole on the Rams’ side of the court.

“Tatum Koser – she did amazing,” said Young. “She was hitting great; cranking them to the ground. I was pretty proud of her. She was taking charge of the balls and playing really well.”

“I thought Tatum Koser did really well, and same with our setter Colleen (Presnolo), she stepped up and did a great job,” said Crusaders power Bailey Kuzma.

The comeback win was in stark contrast to how the team opened the season. Playing the F.H. Collins Warriors, the Crusaders (3-1) dropped a two-set lead and took their only loss of the Super Volley Season.

“I was really glad that we brought it back,” said Kuzma. “We showed that we could come back to win it … I was really proud of our team.

“We just had a good talk and decided to bring it if we wanted it. We asked ourselves if we wanted it that bad and we did.”

Don’t discount Porter Creek in next week’s Yukon Volleyball Championships. Not only was Wednesday’s match one of the closest of the season, the Rams defeated the Crusaders in the final of the Dawson Invitational Volleyball Tournament at the end of last month.

“We know what we can do as a team, but we’re not going to get too cocky,” said Young. “We know we still have to fight for every single win that we get.”

Rams keep Crusaders winless

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Porter Creek’s senior boys will go into next week’s Yukon championships with neither a winning or losing record.

In a hard-fought 25-11, 26-28, 25-21, 25-23 win over the Crusaders on Wednesday, the Rams end the regular season with a respectable 2-2 record.

“It was good. We picked it up,” said Rams captain Riley Andrew. “We almost lost it a couple of times but put it together in the end.

“We’d start to make errors, but then we’d pick it up and do better on our side. Then we’d make more errors again.”

Tied with a set each, the Rams took back the lead on a tough serve from Scott Peterson. Late in the fourth Kyle Lowes gave the Rams match-point with a block and Peterson put in the final kill to end the match.

“The whole team was doing pretty good tonight,” said Andrew.

The Crusaders took the second set after jumping out to a 7-1 lead with big kills and serves from captain Jon Koltun. Tied 26-26, Vanier took set point on a tip from Cody Park before Tristan Olynyk put a serve off the net-tape that tripped up the Rams.

The Crusaders, who managed to reach the finals in Dawson, have finished Super Volley with a 0-4 record.

“For more success we have to go back to what we do well in practice,” said Crusaders head coach Dustin Shewfelt. “We cover our hitters and blockers a lot better and to find success we have to go back to playing a defence-first game instead of looking for the big hit … We have to rely on each other and trust each other.”

The F.H. Collins Warriors are the clear favourites going into the championships. Not only did the team go 4-0 in Super Volley, they won the Dawson Invitational Volleyball Tournament last month.

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com