Dawson Knights claim gold at volleyball championships

Few gold medal wins are as long in the making as the one in the junior boys division at the Yukon Volleyball Championships on Saturday.

Few gold medal wins are as long in the making as the one in the junior boys division at the Yukon Volleyball Championships on Saturday.

Dawson City’s Robert Service School Knights, who won gold, have been playing together since before they reached the high school level.

“We’ve known each other since we were six years old and we’ve never come apart from each other,” said Knights co-captain John Dagostin.

“We keep our hopes up together, we always push each other to achieve greater goals. That’s the benefit to this team, there’s only seven of us, but we’ve all known each other since we were kids.”

The Knights captured gold with a 22-25, 25-17, 15-7 come-from-behind win over the Porter Creek Rams in the gold medal game at F.H. Collins Secondary.

It wasn’t the team’s first gold medal. The same Knights team won gold in the Grade 8 division – with an all Grade 7 team – at the 2011 Yukon championships, which was the last time the Dawson school won a Yukon title.

The next year, in Grade 8, the team won silver in the junior boys division.

“You look out on the court, they know their positions and they play them well,” said Knights head coach Steve Laszlo. “They are friends on and off the court. After the game they’re not going off in every direction, they’re hanging out with each other. So they care for each other and they respect each other and they’re in it together. It’s a team thing and today they pulled together.”

The Knights came out really strong in the opening set of the final. After jumping out to a 4-0 lead, Dawson went on a nine-point run on the serve of Caleb Verdonk to go up 15-4. The Rams chipped away at the deficit and caught up at 22-22 with a crafty tip by Jon Amos followed by an unreturned serve from Amos. Rams’ Jarrett Peterson then put away back-to-back kills before teammate Robert Smallwood followed up with a kill of his own for the set.

“We tend to start a little slow,” said Rams head coach Tara Wardle. “We get a little nervous and get the best of ourselves … The more we talk the better we do, and unfortunately we were a little quiet out on the court today.”

The Knights got back on track in the second. They went on a five-point run on the serve of Dagostin to go up 8-1 and 10-3 on an ace from middle Zach Bartholomeus. Bartholomeus was named tournament MVP following the final.

“He’s got some big blocks, some timely hits and he really stepped up as a leader too,” said Laszlo. “It’s well deserving. He’s improved his game on and off the court.”

The Knights got to within arm’s reach of the second set on a service winner from Dagostin, who plays middle, at 23-14. They tied the match a set apiece on a kill from Will Connellan.

The Dawson crew took the lead for the final time at 3-2 in the third on a kill from Verdonk. They then went up 13-6 on a kill from co-captain John Kilpin before the Rams were called on a double hit and missed a serve to end the match.

“It’s special, it just doesn’t happen every day for Dawson,” said Laszlo. “We’ve come to the dance before, but we haven’t been able to close it. We were able to close today and it’s a good feeling.”

The team is feeling “pretty great,” said Dagostin. “It’s been a while. We got silver last year at the (Dawson Invitational Volleyball Tournament) and we hungered for gold at this tournament.”

The gold-winning Knights suffered just one loss at the championships, dropping a round robin game to the F.H. Collins Warriors, who went on to take bronze.

Surprisingly, before the playoffs, the Rams went winless in four matches in the round robin.

“We didn’t play well in the round robin at all,” said Wardle. “We’ve lost a number of players in the last week … It took us the round robin to find our chemistry again with the six out on the court.”

The junior boys gold was one of three medals won by the Robert Service School Knights at this year’s championships. The Knights also won bronze in the junior girls and the senior girls divisions.

Dawson also entered a Grade 9 team in the junior boys division that lost in the quarterfinal to fourth place’s Vanier Crusaders.

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

During our recent conversation, John Nicholson showed me snapshots of his time working on the Yukon riverboats 70 years ago. (Michael Gates)
History Hunter: Yukon man relives the riverboat days after seven decades

John Nicholson took summer work on Yukon steamers in the 1950s

NDP candidate Annie Blake, left, and Liberal incumbent Pauline Frost. (Submitted photos)
Official recount confirms tie vote in Vuntut Gwitchin riding

Both candidates Pauline Frost and Annie Blake are still standing with 78 votes each

Artist’s rendering of a Dairy Queen drive-thru. At its April 13 meeting, Whitehorse city council approved a zoning change to allow a drive-thru at 107 Range Road. Developers sought the change to build a Dairy Queen there. (Submitted)
Drive-thru approved by Whitehorse city council at 107 Range Road

Rezoning could pave the way for a Dairy Queen


Wyatt’s World for April 14, 2021.… Continue reading

École Whitehorse Elementary Grade 7 students Yumi Traynor and Oscar Wolosewich participated in the Civix Student Vote in Whitehorse on April 12. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Yukon Student Vote chooses Yukon Party government; NDP take popular vote

The initiative is organized by national non-profit CIVIX

Yvonne Clarke is the newly elected Yukon Party MLA for Porter Creek Centre. (Submitted/Yukon Party)
Yvonne Clarke elected as first Filipina MLA in the Yukon Legislative Assembly

Clarke beat incumbent Liberal Paolo Gallina in Porter Creek Centre

Emily Tredger at NDP election night headquarters after winning the Whitehorse Centre riding. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Emily Tredger takes Whitehorse Centre for NDP

MLA-elect ready to get to work in new role

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Two new cases of COVID-19 variant identified in territory

“If variants were to get out of control in the Yukon, the impact could be serious.”

Today’s Mailbox: Rent freezes and the youth vote

Dear Editor, I read the article regarding the recommendations by the Yukon… Continue reading

Point-in-Time homeless count planned this month

Volunteers will count those in shelters, short-term housing and without shelter in a 24-hour period.

The Yukon’s new ATIPP Act came into effect on April 1. Yukoners can submit ATIPP requests online or at the Legislative Assembly building. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News file)
New ATIPP Act in effect as of April 1

The changes promise increased government transparency

A new conservancy in northern B.C. is adjacent to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (Courtesy BC Parks)
Ice Mountain Lands near Telegraph Creek, B.C., granted conservancy protection

The conservancy is the first step in a multi-year Tahltan Stewardship Initiative

Most Read