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

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks to media at a press conference about COVID-19 in Whitehorse on March 30. The Yukon government announced three new cases of COVID-19 in Watson Lake on Oct. 23. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three new COVID-19 cases identified in Watson Lake

The Yukon government has identified three locations in town where public exposure may have occurred

A pedestrian passes by an offsales sandwich board along Fourth Avenue in Whitehorse on Oct. 22. NDP MLA Liz Hanson raised concerns Oct. 21 in the legislature about increased hospitalizations due to alcohol consumption that correlate with an extension in the hours alcohol can be sold in the territory. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Alcohol-related hospitalizations rise after off-sales hours extended

Reduced hours for off-sale liquor establishments likely part of Liquor Act spring reforms

Tourism and Culture Minister Jeanie McLean (formerly Dendys) speaks during legislative assembly in Whitehorse on Nov. 27, 2017. The Yukon government has announced $2.8 million in tourism relief funding aimed at businesses in the accommodation sector that have already maxed out existing funds. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Tourism relief funding offers $2.8 million to hotels and overnight accommodations

$15 million in relief funding is planned for the tourism sector over the next three years

The Whitehorse sewage lagoons photographed in 2011. With new regulations for wastewater anticipated to be introduced by the federal government within the next decade, the City of Whitehorse may soon be doing some prep work by looking at exactly what type of pollutants are making their way into the city’s wastewater. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Pondering pollutants

City could spend $70,000 looking at what contaminents are in waste water

Most of Whitehorse Individual Learning Centre’s class of 2020 graduates. The former students were welcomed back and honoured by staff at the school on Oct. 14 with a personalized grad ceremony for each graduate. (Submitted)
Individual Learning Centre grads honoured

Members of the Whitehorse Individual Learning Centre’s class of 2020 were welcomed… Continue reading

Benjamin Munn, 12, watches the HPV vaccine in 2013. Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available to all Yukoners up to, and including, age 26. Currently the program is only available to girls ages nine to 18 and boys ages nine to 14. (Dan Bates/Black Press file)
HPV vaccine will be available to Yukoners up to, including, age 26

Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

asdf
COMMENTARY: Me and systemic racism

The view from a place of privilege

asdf
Today’s mailbox: Electricity and air travel

Letters to the editor published Oct. 23, 2020

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Irony versus Climate

Lately it seems like Irony has taken over as Editor-in-Chief at media… Continue reading

Evan Lafreniere races downhill during the U Kon Echelon Halloweeny Cross-Country Race on Oct. 16. (Inara Barker/Submitted)
Costumed bike race marks end of season

The U Kon Echelon Bike Club hosted its final race of the… Continue reading

Smartphone showing various applications to social media services and Google. (Pixabay photo)
National media calling for level playing field with Google, Facebook

In Canada, Google and Facebook control 80 per cent of all online advertising revenues

Education Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee, right, before question period at the Yukon legislative assembly in Whitehorse on March 7, 2019. The Yukon government announced Oct. 19 it has increased the honoraria rates for school council members. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Honoraria increased for school council members

Members of school councils throughout the territory could soon receive an increased… Continue reading

Most Read