Super Volley is super, but only the Pepsi Yukon Championships delivers six consecutive division finals in one day.
The end-of-season high school tournament is the chance for Grades 8 through 12 athletes to show who rules supreme.
This year, the Vanier Catholic Secondary Crusaders and the Porter Creek Rams brought home banners, with the latter winning four out of six division titles Saturday at home.
For Rams coach Sukh Sandhu, it was a good way to go out, defeating the FH Collins Warriors 25-21, 25-22 in the senior boys finals.
After coaching Porter Creek since 2005, the senior boys final was his final game in the territory. Sandhu is moving to California to live with his fiance.
“A lot of these guys were in Grade 8 when I came up here and we worked with them from then on, so it’s kind of come full circle,” said Sandhu. “They’re an amazing group of guys.”
Small runs at the start and the very end of the match made the difference for the Rams in the close contest. The Rams took the title on a kill by hitter Robin Smith, who was named to the tournament all-star team.
Ram Riley Smith was named tournament MVP.
“He’s an amazing kid,” said Sandhu of Riley. “Riley and Robin (Smith) are true leaders. We had three starters injured and these guys always listen to the coaches, work hard, they do their homework and they’re respectful of everyone around them – all of them are because I demand it.”
After losing to the Rams in the round-robin, the Crusaders bounced back with a 25-20, 21-25, 15-7 win over the Rams in the senior girls final.
The Crusaders won the opening set on a kill by Sheena Greenlaw and looked to be cruising to victory with a 13-7 lead in the second. However, the Rams offence came alive when it mattered most, at 21-21, with Jamie Whitty sending over consecutive aces and Emma McDougal twice splitting Crusader blockers for the set.
“We made a couple mental errors and that gave Porter Creek some life,” said Crusaders coach Janna Tait. “We got panicky, we got away from our game and so it was nice to be able to talk to them at the beginning of the third, to get us re-centred and focused again.”
For her offensive prowess at the net, Crusaders right-side hitter Brittni Waddington was named the tournament MVP.
“Brittni is the team’s rock,” said Tait. “She understands it’s about more than her and she plays for the team. She not too excited or doesn’t get too down, she’s just stable.
“Her skills are solid – she’s consistent and she’s a rock. You need that person to hold the team together and that’s what she did.”
Capturing third for the senior girls were the Warriors, defeating the Robert Service School Knights in three sets. On the boys side, the Knights upset the Crusaders in straight sets for third.
In the Grade 9/10 division, the Crusader boys blue team defeated the Rams 15-18, 25-16 in the finals. Named tournament MVP was Crusader Albert Spyker.
In the battle for bronze, the Crusaders white team downed the Warriors.
The Rams red team topped the field in the 9/10 girls draw, beating the Crusaders 25-22, 25-13. Ram Courtney Greenway was named tournament MVP.
In the bronze game the Warriors defeated the Rams black team 25-19, 25-16.
For the Grade 8s, the Rams narrowly took home gold with a close 10-25, 25-22, 15-13 win over the Crusaders on the girls side. Ram Daria Jordan was awarded MVP status for her work on the court.
For third, the Knights upset the Warriors.
On the boys side, Ram Jarrett Malchow was named tournament MVP as his team decisively beat the Warriors 25-11, 25-10.
The Crusaders took bronze by default after a no-show by the Teslin School.
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org