The F.H. Collins Warriors opened the season with a loss to the Porter Creek Rams. They finished it with a win over the Rams to make history.
The Warriors won the 11/12 girls division at the YSAA Volleyball Championship on Saturday at Porter Creek Secondary School.
Having captured the senior girls title at the Dawson Invitational and the Whitehorse high school Super Volley league, the Warriors have captured the prestigious Triple Crown of Yukon volleyball.
It is believed to be the school’s first-ever Triple Crown in the senior girls division, say YSAA and Volleyball Yukon sources.
“It feels so good to be part of the team that finally broke the barrier and got the Triple Crown,” said Warriors captain Katelyn Holway. “I think we really clicked together. We all worked well together on the court and we know our jobs. Between Super Volley finals and now we really found the place we should be playing at: serious but still having fun.”
The Warriors achieved their first Triple Crown in senior boys two years ago. When confronted with it being a first for a F.H. Collins girls team, a broad, glowing smile emerged on the face of head coach Adam Robinson.
“My team won all three this year so that made me proud,” said Robinson. “We just have a really good group of girls — really great attitudes, always positive, always working hard and just skilled, very skilled. That makes the difference.”
The Warriors defeated the Rams with increasing decisiveness in the final, winning 28-26, 25-22, 25-18.
They took the opening set on a missed Porter Creek serve followed by a spike sent long by the Rams.
After trailing for most of the second set — down 17-12 at one point — the Warriors tied it and took the lead at 23-22 on back-to-back kills from Jordyn Cowan. They claimed the set on a service winner from Emily Muir, who was named an All-Star.
At the end of the third set, the Warriors captured the match, Yukon title and Triple Crown on a spike from Maggie Brook that went off the net tape and an over.
“The first couple sets were hard. PC fought really hard,” said Holway. “We just didn’t make a lot of errors in the third set and just went out and made really good plays.”
The Warriors went undefeated in five games at the championship, thanks in part to defensive specialist Koito Nakayama. The Warriors libero, who is a foreign exchange student from Japan, was named season MVP.
“Not just in this tournament but throughout the year she’s been an incredible player,” said Robinson. “She dug up pretty much every ball today … She’s a do-everything player. She doesn’t boast, she’s just there, does her job and she does it well, every game.”
“She’s always there when you’re not,” said Holway. “She comes out from nowhere and gets the ball. She’s always hustling and always working.”
The Vanier Crusaders beat the Robert Service School Knights from Dawson City 25-22, 25-22 to take the bronze.
See Wednesday’s Yukon News for more coverage of the Yukon Schools Athletics Association Volleyball Championships.
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org
Alysha Soliguen (Knights)
Skye Hanson (Crusaders)
Thea Carey (Rams)
Tasha-Lee Schwantz (Rams)
Emily Muir (Warriors)
Alice Frost (Warriors)
MVP Koito Nakayama (Warriors)