The Super Volley final was supposed to be a home game for the Porter Creek Rams. But it was relocated to Vanier Catholic Secondary when the retractable dividing wall in Porter Creek’s gym broke down Wednesday.
However, the loss of home turf seemed to have no effect on the Rams senior girls team.
Porter Creek won the Super Volley title with a 25-22, 25-11, 8-25, 25-17 win over the Vanier Crusaders on Friday.
“This is the point last year where we struggled, when we were undefeated,” said Rams head coach Amy Palamar. “So it feels nice to finish it off this year the way we wanted.
“The only game we lost last year was the Super Volley finals – in this gym, against Vanier.”
The Rams team, who are the defending Yukon champs, finished the regular season tied with the Crusaders at 3-1, but was awarded the top spot and the bye into the final through a count-back.
Tied 20-20 in the first set, the Rams took the lead on a tough serve from co-captain Tayla McNally. They then went up 23-20 on a tricky bump by setter, Rams Player of the Game and league MVP Hannah Milner, before taking the set on a pair of missed Crusaders attacks.
“All along I wanted to select Hannah (as Super Volley MVP) … She’s our setter and one of the most important players on the court,” said Palamar. “She sets up every ball and she’s just so good at her job. And she’s so good at covering and playing every spot. So she deserved it. The other coaches and I all agreed she was the top setter of the season.”
After taking the second set on a service winner from Rams co-captain Sam Wintemute, the wheels came off in the third. The Crusaders jumped out to a 9-2 lead, went up 19-5 on an ace from Kate Londero during a six-point run and reached set point on a kill from captain and All-Star Chloe Turner-Davis. Vanier then took the set on a missed serve from the Rams.
“We’re happy with how we’ve done, minus the third set – that wasn’t our team, usually,” said Wintemute, who was named an All-Star.
“I think we got down on ourselves, started beating ourselves up, stopped communicating. After the third set we came out pretending it didn’t happen.”
The Rams got back on track in the fourth. They tied the set 12-12 and took a 13-12 lead on unreturned serves from All-Star Teah Dickson. Porter Creek clinched the Whitehorse high school league title on a kill from Milner, a pair of service winners from Wintemute, and finally a missed attack from Vanier.
“I told the girls to start off strong, and we kind of did, we just needed a little more talking on the court,” said Crusaders co-head coach Erika New. “I think that showed in the third set when we scored 25-8.
“Skill-wise, we’re better – I want to say that. Volleyball is a mental game and whoever came out strongest first would (finish) first.”
The Porter Creek Rams have now notched two out of three titles needed for the prestigious triple crown in Yukon high school volleyball.
They won the Dawson Invitational Volleyball Tournament on Nov. 1, now Super Volley, and will need to win their division at the Yukon Volleyball Championships in a couple weeks for the crown.
“We just have to keep focusing on our side whenever we play, keep working at building up our skills and keeping our energy high and not letting anything affect the way we’re working on our side,” said Palamar.
“I’m really proud of my team, they are doing really good, and I can’t wait for the Yukon champs to finish it off,” said Wintemute.
The Vanier Crusaders reached Friday’s final with a 25-21, 19-25, 25-22, 25-13 win on Thursday over the F.H. Collins Warriors, who have gone winless in Super Volley this season.
Tied a set apiece, the Crusaders took the third set on one of the most peculiar plays of the season. Jammed by a Warriors serve, Londero took the ball off the top of her head, but it was kept in play for Turner-Davis to put it away for the win.
The Crusaders later won the semi on an ace from Lauren Gillies in the fourth.
Warriors’ Hannah Wirth and Crusaders’ Mel Moya were named Players of the Game.
Super Volley All-Stars
Laurie Reti (Warriors)
Avery Bramadat (Warriors)
Chloe Turner-Davis (Crusaders)
Jiella Tobias (Crusaders)
Teah Dickson (Rams)
Sam Wintemute (Rams)
MVP Hannah Milner (Rams)
Contact Tom Patrick at email@example.com