The Vanier Crusaders watched a sizable lead dwindle to nothing in the junior girls final of the Pepsi Volleyball Yukon Championships.
Instead of letting their nerves get the better of them, they stayed tough and took a 25-18, 25-23 win over the Porter Creek Rams on Saturday at Porter Creek Secondary.
“It was a great feeling, the girls worked extremely hard all year and every single one of them gave it their all, all the time,” said Crusaders head coach Dwayne Stoker. “We had a tough semifinal yesterday … So we coaches were worried about them keeping it mentally together.
“Porter Creek played a fantastic game, probably the best game I’ve seen them play.”
Vanier was cruising in the second set before the Rams began to turn the tide. Down 19-9, the Rams pulled within a point of the Crusaders on a kill by Thea Carry to make it 20-19 for Vanier.
The Crusaders made a little breathing room on a kill from Jiela Tobias and a service winner from Lauren Gillies at 22-19.
Porter Creek’s Brook McNally tied the game 23-23 on an ace before missing her next serve to give Vanier match-point.
“I’m so impressed with the girls, I couldn’t ask for more from them,” said Rams head coach Emily Fedoriak. “They worked so hard. We were down by 10 points that one time and they fought back to lose by two. The girls were happy with the outcome and so was I.”
Tobias put in a service winner for the match and was named tournament MVP.
“I love playing on the court with her,” said Crusader captain Laurie Reti. “She’s the other power, back-row hitter. When she swings I get stoked and it makes me want to play harder.”
Saturday’s game was a rematch of the Dawson Invitational Volleyball Tournament final in October. The Crusaders took that one as well.
“I’m incredibly stoked, it feels good,” said Reti. “Last year is was both silver for Dawson and Yukon champs, so it feels good to win.
“It was a great season and my team was phenomenal to play with … I’m actually pretty sad it’s over.”
The F.H. Collins Warriors claimed the bronze with a 25-16, 25-16 win over the Teslin School Predators. The Predators reached the Grade 9/10 bronze final with a team of just two Grade 6s, one Grade 8 and three Grade 9s.
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