Kerry Huff experienced a mixture of elation and fear during the final game of the Yukon Volleyball Championships.
As Porter Creek Secondary’s principal, he promised to get a tattoo of the Rams logo if they won all six divisions.
After five successful Ram finals, it looked as if Huff had a date with the needle.
But the Vanier Crusaders senior boys’ saved his skin — literally — topping the Rams in a close three-setter, ending their hopes of a clean sweep.
“I think I would have looked awfully good in a tattoo,” said a relieved Huff. “That would have been my first and only.”
Rams’ attempt for six straight
In the closest match, the Crusaders fought back from a set down to take the senior boys title with a 24-26, 25-21, 15-13 win over the Rams. The win gave the Crusaders the coveted “Triple Crown,” having won the Dawson City Invitational, the Super Volley and now the Yukon Championships.
“They beat us, we didn’t beat ourselves,” said Rams coach Sukh Sandhu. “We were winning 10-6 in the third set, and you’ve got to finish that off.”
According to Sandhu, his team was still feeling the affects of a tight three-setter the previous day against the FH Collins Warriors, who took third.
“They took a little bit of us that we could have used today,” said Sandhu.
The Crusaders had trouble at the service line throughout the match, losing nine points.
“Our serves are what killed us,” said Crusaders coach Dwayne Stoker. “Those are free points. Especially after a big rally, a big kill, a big block, you go back and serve it out, it just kills any sort of momentum you try to snag.”
Crusaders’ Dustin Myatt won the final point slamming a spike that clipped the fingers of Rams blockers in the third set.
Rams take gold
with pair of close sets
Taking and holding modest leads in both sets, the senior girls’ Rams took gold, beating the Warriors 25-20, 25-21.
“We did come a bit nervous in the first set, but we still held out ground and we still came out with a lead,” said Rams Krista Mooney, who gave her team the game with a spike off Warriors’ Chantai Minet. “In the second set we got most of our jitters out and we wanted to win so we played hard and played our game.”
In the second set the Warriors switched to a more defensive mode, dumping a lot of balls over the net instead of going for kills.
“We were a little more tentative,” said Warriors coach Jennifer Norris. “But we were trying to pick off more sidelines and make them move around a bit — it was all strategy.”
The bronze medal went to the Crusaders.
Rams finish on the right foot in boys 9/10 final
With strong finishes in both sets, the Rams won the crucial points to defeat the Crusaders 25-20, 25-17 in the finals of the 9/10 boys’ final.
“We’d be tight with them until about 17 points and then all it takes is four or five errant passes here and there and the wheels fall off pretty quick,” said Crusaders coach Russ Tait. “When you’re in those last five points, you have to be able to get the job done — they could today and we couldn’t.”
When playing the Crusaders in the finals of the Dawson City Invitational, the Rams went through a bunch of points trying to win with a big hit, which did eventually happened. So Rams coach Mike Kelly finds it appropriate that his big hitter Robin Smith finished off both sets with bit-time kills.
“He’s been our go-to guy all year,” said Rams coach Mike Kelly of Smith. “On and off the court he’s been a leader with intensity and heart.”
With the best finish of any outside Whitehorse team, Dawson City took third.
in straight sets
Twice squandering comfortable leads, the Porter Creek Rams managed to hold on to defeat the Crusaders in straight sets 25-21, 25-19 for the girls’ 9/10 title.
In the opening set the Rams let a 16-10 lead fade to a 16-16 tie before Rams’ Erin Borgford eventually slapped a kill to give her team set point at 24-20. A Crusaders’ spike in the net gave the Rams the set.
“All in all, I thought it was a great played game for the 9/10 level,” said Rams coach Tara Wardle. “My girls need to learn to stay up. Once you go up it’s really easy to turn over and start coming down. For them it’s just a matter of getting the mental game.”
During more defensive play by both teams in the second set, Crusaders Tanis Avery managed to stave off one match point with a kill, but the Vanier team was unable to handle a spike from Rams’ Brandy Scobie for the win.
The FH Collins Warriors took third with a win over the Robert Service School team from Dawson in the bronze game.
PC Red overcomes deficit for Grade 8 boys’ title
After dropping a close first set, the Rams Red team defeated the Crusaders 24-26, 25-20, 15-12 to take the Grade 8 boys’ title.
Up 13-11 in the third, the Crusaders were cost a point for a carry, giving the Rams three match points. Then, after Crusaders’ Jon Koltun kept the game alive with a kill down the line, Ryley Andrew gave the Rams the win with a tip over the Vanier blockers.
“I thought we had the momentum again, but we lost it,” said Crusaders coach Jane Londero. “That’s what’s nerve-wracking as a coach, and the players feel it as well.”
“I tell them that volleyball is like a rollercoaster; you go up and down all the time,” said Rams coach Don Fedus. “So when you go down you have to pick yourself back up.”
Apparently the message got through.
“We played more positive,” said Rams’ Andrew. “We knew that we needed to win the second one to keep going and win the gold.”
The bronze medal went to the Warriors.
Red Rams down
In a game that was guaranteed a winner from Porter Creek Secondary, the Red Rams defeated the Black Rams in two sets, 26-24, 25-21 to capture the Grade 8 girls’ title.
The Red Rams fell behind at the start of each set, going down 6-2 in the second and more significantly 14-7 in the first.
“Anything can happen at this level,” said Red Rams coach Derek Wilson. “If you can pass up and serve, you can get runs of seven or eight points at a time. The girls played really good; they made all of their serves and passed up really well.”
With just seven players on the Black team including two injured players, Black Rams coach Julie Lackowicz was forced to put in Lindsay Keaton who injured her hand in an earlier game and might have played with a broken bone.
“A lot of my girls got injured over the weekend,” said Lackowicz. “So my girls toughed it out really well…
“We’re an injured team and I’m so proud of the girls just for coming so far.”
The Warriors Black team took third, defeating the Warriors Gold team.
Contact Tom Patrick at email@example.com