The Vanier Crusader capped the Super Volley regular season with wins on home turf on Friday.
Hosting the F.H. Collins Warriors, the Crusaders came from behind to win in senior girls and produced a straight-set win in senior boys at Vanier Catholic Secondary School.
There was plenty at stake in the boys game. With the win, the Vanier boys finished the regular season in first with a 3-1 record. The Warriors placed second at 2-2 and the Porter Creek Rams third at 1-3.
The Crusaders have therefore secured a bye into Friday’s Super Volley final while the Warriors and Rams with faceoff in Thursday’s semifinal.
“Our team has a lot of skill. When they come together and play as a team, they are almost undefeatable,” said Crusaders head coach Ben Craigen. “But it depends on how they feel and how badly they want to win.
“Tonight we started off with not a lot of momentum. But as we played through the night we started to pick up momentum and towards the end there it was pretty convincing we were in control.”
The Crusaders pushed the Warriors, last year’s Yukon champion team, into a second place finish with a 26-24, 25-23, 25-17 on Friday.
Down 13-5 in the first set, Vanier tied the game at 17-17 and took their first lead of the match at 20-19 before falling behind again. Tied again at 24-24, Jesse McCuaig slammed a kill for set point before teammate Ian New put in an unreturned serve for the set.
The Crusaders only got stronger from there. They opened the third set with a five-point run, eventually establishing a 14-4 lead. They won it on a tough serve from Daniel Moses.
Following the game, Warriors’ Anshil Kumer and Crusaders’ Angus Newell were named the Players of the Game.
“(Newell) normally plays power. Tonight he was filling in for the libero position and the right side position,” said Craigen. “He played both positions flawlessly, hence his nomination for MVP.”
Crusaders beat the Porter Creek Rams in a tight five-setter on Thursday night at Vanier. The first place team’s only loss of the Super Volley season came from the Rams on Oct. 7.
erase Warrior leads
Vanier’s senior girls have perseverance on their side.
The Crusaders came back from down a set, down eight points to win the third set and down seven points to win the fourth set in a 16-25, 25-15, 25-21, 25-23 win over the Warriors.
“The girls really showed their drive and their love for volleyball tonight,” said Crusaders head coach Amanda Bartel. “There were some moments where they got down, that’s true, but pushed hard and fought hard for the last three games.”
The Warriors will get another crack at maintain leads over the Crusaders in Thursday’s Super Volley semifinal. Vanier finished in second with a 2-2 record, F.H. Collins in third with a 1-3 record, while the 3-1 Porter Creek Rams - the defending Super Volley champs - earned the bye into Friday’s final. The Rams have also won the Yukon senior girls title the last three years.
Porter Creek’s one loss so far came from Vanier in five sets on Oct. 7.
“We’ve had a little bit of a rocky season,” said Bartel. “We’ve had some pretty high points and we’ve had some pretty low points as well.”
After falling behind 13-6 in Friday’s fourth set, the Crusaders caught the Warriors at 22-22. Vanier’s Katelyn Holway then knocked away back-to-back kills for match point. Teammate Kathleen Limpio made a big dig to keep the ball in play before the Warriors missed on a follow-up attack.
Warriors’ Jayden Demchuk and Crusaders setter Mikaela Ponsioen were named Players of the Game.
“She was on fire,” said Bartel of Ponsioen. “We play a six-two system and she was front row hitting every hit she could. She had lots of kills and even got a couple of big blocks in there as well. She was a very good all-around player tonight.”
The Super Volley semis and finals will take place Thursday and Friday at Porter Creek Secondary School. The girls games starts at 5 p.m. and the boys at 6:30 p.m.
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