The last time the Porter Creek Rams won the boys Super Volley title, the current team was still in elementary school. In fact, that’s where they all met.
“We’re a tight team. We were all at the same elementary school growing up, so we’re all very tight-knit and we work well together, we don’t get down on each other,” said Rams right side Morgan Schmidt. “We just play great as a unit, we stay level through the whole game and we just play on our side — we don’t play down to the other team’s level.”
The long-time friendships have resulted in a cohesive unit and a win streak. The Rams capped an undefeated Super Volley season with a 25-17, 25-19, 22-25, 25-20 win over the F.H. Collins Warriors in the final on Friday at Porter Creek Secondary School.
It is Porter Creek’s first senior boys title in the Whitehorse high school volleyball league since 2010.
The team also won at the Dawson Invitational Volleyball Tournament and will try for the Triple Crown at the YSAA Volleyball Championships in two weeks.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Vanier Crusaders — last year’s Super Volley champion team — have yet to log a win this season in the Whitehorse league.
“It’s been a tough season,” said Crusaders head coach Eric Gary.
“What we need to do is to keep confidence. We’re losing a bit of confidence in ourselves, not trusting teammates as much as I’d like. But I feel in these last weeks we’re going to come together, really bond as a team, really trust each other and I think we’re going to play much better.”
The Rams opened the third set (the one they lost) with a nine-point run on the serve of Bandon Barrett to take a 10-5 lead. The Warriors caught up at 21-21 and took the lead on a kill from Sam Finton. The Warriors took the set on a kill — his second in three points — from Austin Hayduck.
“We just came out a bit flat, we just needed our momentum up a bit,” said Schmidt. “They wanted to get back in the game — they’re a really good team and they really wanted to win and took that set from us.”
The Rams reached match point on a block from Jon Amos and took the match on a kill from Robert Smallwood, both of whom were named season All-Stars.
“They’re great players, they stay consistent. This year was probably one of their best years,” said Schmidt, who was named season MVP.
The Warriors reached Friday’s final with a 25-18, 25-22, 25-16 win over the Vanier Crusaders the previous night.
The F.H. Collins team also lost to the undefeated Rams in the final of the Dawson Invitational Volleyball Tournament the previous weekend.
After Friday’s final Warriors head coach Mike Kelly had a long talk with his team.
“Basically I was talking about what we’re going to do for the next three weeks so we can beat them in the Yukon championship. That’s it,” said Kelly. “I wish we had the answer today. We need to make some changes, we need to find out what makes this team click, what can we do better to win long rallies, what can we do better to be more competitive every point. It was a pretty hard meeting to have because it seemed like we didn’t have the emotion on the court, but we had lots of emotion after the game.”
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org