The Vanier Crusaders senior girls team has gone undefeated in their first two Super Volley matches this season – both away games – but neither has been decisive.
The Crusaders narrowly defeated the FH Collins Warriors 25-20, 12-25, 25-19, 25-22, 15-13 on Wednesday at FH Collins Secondary. They opened the regular season with a five set victory over the Porter Creek Rams, winning 16-14 in the fifth set, two weeks earlier.
It was a tough loss for the Warriors (1-1), who were two points away from the win in the final set.
“It was a good match. It was really close and both teams played really well,” said Warriors setter Taylor Forsgreen. “In the sets that we won, we were all talking, our spirits were up and just really excited. The sets that we lost our spirits were down and we were just losing points (by) not talking.”
An instance of ill communication came at the worst time for the Warriors. Up 13-12 in the fifth, Crusaders Hannah Frison prevented the Warriors from reaching match-point with a leaping save, returning the ball, which the Warriors watched land in the centre of their court without anyone going for it.
“At the beginning we were tense and had to do some talking, and cheering each other up, to bring our game up. And it worked,” said Frison. “When we got together in the middle of the court, telling each other what we had to do, how we had to pass, where we had to be on the court. We listened to each other and worked more as a team.”
The Crusaders then took match-point on a kill from Kelcey Smeeton, putting more speed on the ball than the Warriors could handle.
“We said, ‘One at a time. We can do this. Don’t look at the score, just serve and pass up, like we’ve been doing all game,’” said Frison. “To just play like it’s a normal point.”
Named Player of the Game for the Crusaders was Erica New, who delivered her team’s winning serve at match-point.
“She passed really well, was always there when no one else really was,” said Frison. “She was there when we needed her the most.”
The Warriors Player of the Game was Corey Baxter, who mostly played libero on Wednesday.
“She’s a very good passer and can get to almost every ball,” said Forsgreen.
Crusader boys looking unstoppable
It’s early yet, but the Crusader boys have already established themselves as the team to beat this season.
The Crusaders (2-0) made that clear with Super Volley’s first straight-set win of the season, rolling over the FH Collins Warriors 25-16, 25-8, 25-15 on Wednesday.
“We were playing some of our better volleyball,” said Crusaders captain Lowell Tait, who registered four of his team’s eight aces and 26 assists. “We were doing all the little things right, which makes it a fun game – passing, serving and making sure we capitalize on what they don’t.”
The Crusaders, which has six former Team Yukon players to the Warriors’ one, took the second set on a kill from Masen Grey and then the match on a tight angle spike from Gibson Pearson. But named Player of the Games for the Crusaders, was right-side Albert Spycher, knocking down eight kills in the match.
“He seemed like he was on his game. He’s a rhythm player and when he has everything going for him, he can do well,” said Tait. “If he gets a good start, he can continue it the whole game, and I think that’s what happened.”
The Warriors are now 0-2 in Super Volley, but picked up a win at the UBC Senior Boys Volleyball Invitational at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver a week-and-a-half ago.
“I think they are lacking confidence out there,” said Warriors head coach Shaun McLoughlin. “They are playing a really strong team, a really experienced team, and so I think they went in a little bit nervous. And there’s not much communication of the court, they’re a little bit tentative.
“It’s a young team and they’re still learning.”
Forcing Crusader blockers to earn their grub was power hitter Martin Sealy, named the Warriors’ Player of the Game.
“He was one of our strongest hitter out there,” said McLoughlin. “He’ll always go out there and hit the ball as hard as he can. He’ll be aggressive, even if the other team blocks him a couple times.
“He also played well defensively – he got a huge block against Albert Spycher.”
Due to the FH Collins Awards Night, Thursday’s Super Volley matches between the Porter Creek Rams and the Warriors were postponed. Though make-up matches were not scheduled by press time, organizers were leaning towards Tuesday or Wednesday at FH Collins.
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