Dawson’s Robert Service School Knights will be the team to beat come next year’s Yukon Volleyball Championships.
The team, made up entirely of Grade 7 students, won the Grade 8 division of the championships at the Canada Games Centre on Saturday.
After dropping the first set, the Knights bounced back to defeat the Ecole Emilie-Tremblay Grizzlies 18-25, 25-23, 15-11 in the final for gold. (The Knights team won bronze in the Grade 7 Championships the previous weekend.)
“We talked about facing some sort of adversity during the tournament,” said Knights head coach Steve Laszlo. “We faced it a bit in the round-robin, but today we were really put to the test. We knew it was coming and they responded well.”
After losing the opening set on an over-the-head backwards bump from Grizzles’ Dakota Rhodes, the Knights moved out from a 22-22 tie in the second set, reaching set-point on consecutive service winners from Will Connellan. (The Knights then took the set on a Grizzlies net violation.)
In the tight third set the Knights got match-point on a service winner from Connor Fellers.
The Knights arrived in the finals with a win over the Porter Creek Rams, also in three sets.
“That one went to a tiebreaker, our last round-robin match went to a tiebreaker and then this one went to a tiebreaker,” said Laszlo.
Named tournament MVP was Knights captain John Kolpin.
“He’s a hitter on our team, but he’s also good at setting – he’s good at all the basic skills,” said Laszlo. “And he’s a real leader, on the floor and off the floor. He’s a guy we have a lot of confidence for out on the floor and he leads by example.”
Taking third was the Vanier Saders (taken from “Crusaders”) with a three-set win over the Porter Creek Rams No. 2 squad.
Vanier Blue comes back for girls’ title
The Vanier Crusaders Blue weren’t feeling too blue after the Grade 8 girls final.
The Vanier squad took gold with a 21-25, 25-18, 15-11 win over the FH Collins Warriors Gold team.
“In the first set they were really nervous,” said Crusaders coach Nicole Morgan. “It’s a different gym, all the rules are in place, and they were scared to serve. So we just focused on our serves for the second set. Once you get your serve going and get a few points, you get your confidence back and the rest just falls into place.”
Strong serving really did make the difference. The Crusaders jumped out to a 5-0 lead over the Warriors in the deciding third set with some hard-to-handle serves from Sarah Ott.
“The two sets we won, when we had first serve we started Sarah Ott in the serving position,” said Morgan. “She’s our steadiest server and was key to getting us off to a good start.”
Vanier took the win on a low, first-touch return of serve from Emily Ross.
“She’s a steady player,” said Morgan. “She’s a real go-to player for her passes. She is one of our key players.
“FH is a very good team,” she added. “They were really working the ball for three hits, so they were tough. We really needed to have a presence up along the net.”
Selected as tournament MVP was Warriors’ Meaghan Stirton, who got the kill to give her team the first set.
The Hidden Valley Huskies took third with a straight set win over Vanier’s Red team.
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