The Vanier Crusaders Grade 8 boys team had two F.H. Collins Warriors teams to go through in the playoffs of the Yukon Grade 8 Volleyball Championships.
But they got the job done.
The Crusaders took the boys title with a 25-11, 25-19 win over the F.H. Collins Warriors Gold squad at the championship hosted by Volleyball Yukon at F.H. Collins Secondary on Saturday.
“I’m just so proud of the boys, they have trained so hard and they’ve been so committed, every single one of those boys,” said Crusaders head coach Paula Stoker. “We have a huge roster of 14, plus our team manager, and they have come to every single practice and every single game and had really good commitment.
“We use a fair-play system, so everyone rotates on equally. I don’t do any substitutions, even in the nail-biting moments. So they won as a team and played as a team all year. I’m just so happy for them because they deserve it.”
Vanier lost to Warriors Black in the round-robin but defeated them in the semifinal to reach the final.
In fact, the Crusaders finished third in the round-robin, behind the two Warrior teams.
“They have such heart,” said Stoker. “They work as a team and really help each other out and really encourage each other to keep going in the nervous parts.”
The Crusaders jumped out to a 5-0 lead to start the match and took the first set on a tip over the Warrior defence from Cruz Goodman, who was named tournament MVP.
The Warriors put up more of a fight in the second set, taking a couple small leads. They went up 5-4 on an ace from Angus Clarke. Down 10-9, Vanier tied the score on a back-row kill from Goodman and took the lead for the last time on a kill from Nathan Abel.
The Crusaders took the match on a block from Andrei Regis.
With a roster of 21 players, F.H. Collins decided to field two teams – a Gold and a Black – for the championships.
“The guys worked hard,” said Warriors head coach Andrew Craigen. “Lots of energy with the guys, just trying to get them to focus on things we worked on is always a challenge.
“But both (teams) showed up for the tournament and played well, so I’m pretty proud of those guys. I think they will have a bright future at F.H.”
In the battle for bronze, Warriors Black took third with a 31-29, 25-16 win over the Porter Creek Rams.
“Good team effort all around,” said Craigen. “I had some good individual strong points, but overall I think it was strong team work and the guys were working hard the whole time.”
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