The front row was often a hazardous place to watch the senior boys’ final of the 32nd annual Dawson Invitational Volleyball Tournament at Robert Service School on Saturday. Actually with aggressive, hard-hitting play coming from both sides of the net, no seat was safe from zooming volleyballs.
“We had gone to that tournament down south, and that match there was as good as any ball that was played at that AAAA tournament,” said Crusaders head coach Russ Tait. “I’ve coached boys on both teams and just the way they’re playing the game is tremendous to watch. They’re working hard and it’s the way the game should be played.”
The Vanier Crusaders senior boys’ team, undefeated in the Whitehorse Super Volley series this season, continued their winning ways with a 25-22, 25-23 victory over the Porter Creek Rams in Saturday’s final.
“It was one of those games that felt like it could have gone either way,” said Rams head coach Mike Kelly. “It seems both teams were really evenly matched. They just came a little more prepared, I guess.”
It looked like a third set might be on the way early in the second, with the Rams coming out strong, taking an 8-4 lead. However, the Crusaders worked their way back in, coming within a point of the lead at 12-11 on a kill by captain Henry Kedziora. Teammate and brother, Charlie Kedziora then gave the Crusaders a lead with a back-to-back kills, painting the line on the second.
The Rams closed-up their own points deficit in the opening set, coming back from 14-6 to eventually tie 22-22 before dropping the final three points. Down 20-18, Ram Peter Hanson put up a pair of blocks for a point before teammates Cameron Weeks and Ian Wintemute each slapped down kills. A point later, Wintemute put a tip over a Crusader blocker to tie the set, which ended with a kill from Charlie Kedziora.
“We know that in order for our team to have success, it can’t just be the (Rams captain) Robin Smith show; it’s got to be a team effort,” said Kelly. “And in order for Robin to have success, the other guys have to pull their weight too.”
While the Rams have had no success against the Crusaders in Super Volley or in the Dawson finals, they did down Vanier in two sets during the tournament’s round-robin.
“So for them to beat us in two sets is a bit of a tough pill to swallow right now,” said Kelly.
The Crusaders reached the final with a straight-set win over the struggling FH Collins Warriors, who will be hoping for their first Super Volley win of the season this Friday at Porter Creek Secondary.
“They’re doing well; they keep getting better and better,” said Tait.
Porter Creek landed in the final with a two-set win over the hosting Robert Service Knights, who surprised the Rams with a close first set.
“In the first set they came out and had incredible defence – they were going point-for-point with us until about halfway through the first set,” said Kelly. “Then we put it in another gear in the second set.”
Vanier Secondary was the big winner in Dawson, winning three out of the four available titles. The one that got away came in the senior girls’ division, which was captured by the Rams with a 25-12, 26-24 win over the Crusaders.
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