The Porter Creek Rams senior girls didn’t win the Whitehorse Super Volley league, didn’t win the Dawson Invitational Volleyball Tournament, but they got the most important title of the season.
The Rams captured gold at the YSAA Yukon Volleyball Championships on Saturday at Porter Creek Secondary.
In the most thrilling final of the championships, the Rams downed the F.H. Collins Warriors 18-25, 25-23, 15-13.
The win marked the fourth straight year Porter Creek took the 11/12 girls title.
“That was the most intense match of the season,” said Rams head coach Amy Palamar. “It was such a battle. They were coming, we were coming – it was back and forth. It was so close at the end it could have been anybody’s game, but thankfully it came out for us.
“We lost that first set and we had to get refocused. The second set was really close as well, but we managed to come out on top.”
The stands were full but no one was using their entire seat – just the edge of it. By the end of the match the crowd roared ear-splittingly after every point.
The thundering cheers took a little getting used to, said Rams captain Tayla McNally.
“I think it was just anxiety, nerves. We let the crowd and the cheering take over,” she said. “The environment got to us a little bit.”
The final reached fever pitch in the third as the set saw a tied score 10 times, including at 13-13.
The Rams won the next one on an unreturned serve from Thea Carey and claimed gold on a tip over Warrior blockers from Ashley Lai.
Porter Creek went undefeated at the championship, beating Dawson’s Robert Service Knights in the semifinal.
McNally, who was her team’s setter, was named championship MVP. As a senior, the final was McNally’s last high school game, making the win bitter-sweet.
“It’s depressing. I love high school volleyball and everything around it,” said McNally. “We’re a really tight-knit group and always have been. We’re a family … I’m very proud of my team.”
“Tayla is a really strong volleyball player,” said Palamar. “She was originally an outside hitter and we gave her a new position this year and she rocked it. She took it, ran with it and did everything we could ask of her.
“She’s a really strong all-around player – she could have played any position.”
The Vanier Crusaders, who won Super Volley and the Dawson Invitational, took bronze with a 25-11, 25-14 win over Dawson’s Robert Service School Knights.
“We’re ecstatic,” added McNally. “The hard work paid off. Vanier won the two tournaments before so we thought that was going to be a trend, but we were like, ‘Let’s break it.’”
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Jayden Demchuk (Warriors)
Aly Wiens (Rams)
Sandy Dubois (Knights)
Thea Carey (Rams)
Jeila Tobias (Crusaders)
Avery Bramadat (Warriors)
MVP Tayla McNally (Rams)