Whitehorse’s F.H. Collins Warriors and the Porter Creek Rams struck gold in the Klondike on Saturday – twice.
The Rams won both the junior and senior girls divisions and the Warriors won the junior and senior boys divisions at the 36th annual Dawson Invitational Volleyball Tournament, hosted by Dawson City’s Robert Service School.
In a bit of deja vu, it is the exact same gold medal winners as at the 2012 Dawson tournament.
“The guys are starting to click and work together and are starting to figure out our team system a little bit,” said Warriors head coach Denis Boyd. “All the small things we’ve been working on all season are slowly coming together, so our game is becoming a little more polished. We’re just building our way up for Yukon champs and to finally get that Yukon championship that has evaded F.H. the last couple years.”
The Warriors won the Grade 11/12 boys title with a 25-14, 25-17 win over the hosting Robert Service School Knights in the final.
The win marked a three-peat for the Warriors, having won the senior boys division in 2012 and 2013 as well.
Saturday also marked the second year in a row the Knights made an appearance in a final in Dawson. In fact, two Robert Service teams reached finals last year to end a seven-year drought.
“Our one captain, Max Clarke, stood out … He was out there for almost every game, every set,” said Boyd. “Alan Mark, Peter Jacob, Etienne Geoffroy-Gagnon – there were some guys who took a really strong leadership role. It’s a long weekend, lots of games, the bus ride up, the early morning games, the late night games: It’s tough on the body and hard to keep energy throughout the whole weekend. And they did a really good job at managing themselves and time, and it definitely showed out on the court.”
The Warriors are undefeated in two Super Volley matches so far this season and are hosting the final games of the regular season this Thursday and Friday.
They won Whitehorse’s Super Volley league title and the Dawson tourney last year but were denied the triple crown when they were upset by the Vanier Crusaders in the final of the Yukon Volleyball Championships – the team’s only loss of the season.
“We’re looking to go undefeated there as well so we can hold a perfect record going into the Super Volley championships,” said Boyd. “Not only do we want the Yukon championships, we want the triple crown – something F.H. hasn’t had before. We’re trying to break some records here.”
Rams come back in junior girls final
Porter Creek’s junior girls get dangerous when their backs are up against the wall.
After dropping first-sets, the Rams would sharpen their play in the second set. It happened in the final.
The Rams defeated Vanier Crusaders 12-25, 25-12, 15- 10 to win the 9/10 girls title.
“It was a mixture of nerves and excitement, and the girls weren’t playing their game,” said Rams head coach Emily Fedoriak. “Before the start of the second set they calmed down and took their time. We had one girl on our team (Billie Robertson) serve 15 serves in a row, which really gave us a strong lead, and I think mentally that’s why we were able to pull through with the win.”
The round-robin portion of the tournament consisted of two-set matches with no third sets. At the end of the robin, sets won and lost determined each team’s seeding going into the playoffs.
“It was actually a really close round robin tournament; we split almost every game,” said Fedoriak. “We’d lose the first set and then win the second set. All the teams are fairly close.”
“All the girls played well. It was a good battle between all the schools,” she added. “We were pretty equally matched. It was a good tournament.”
Warriors tough it out in junior boys division
F.H. Collins’ junior boys were facing adversity before they even left Whitehorse. They lost their captain Skylar Bryant to a broken arm, sustained in a soccer match, before leaving for Dawson.
Things didn’t get much better after they arrived. The Warriors’ starting setter, Curtis Terrier, suffered a broken nose in a collision during a game Friday morning in Dawson.
“He had a black eye and blurry vision and was having difficulty seeing, so we’d try him in the final if he could see well enough,” said Warriors co-head coach Nathan Bingham. “So when the final came, he felt like he could see well enough and wanted to play. So he got back in the line-up and that was really good for us because he’s an excellent setter. He performs well under pressure and is a really composed athlete. I was a little more confident things were going to go our way when Curtis said he was going to get back in the line-up.”
It did go their way. The Warriors topped Porter Creek 25-18, 26-24 to capture the 9/10 boys title.
“It was pretty tight in the second set,” said Bingham. “They just about pushed it to three sets and I’m glad we finished them in two because anything can happen in a third set. But we were the better team.”
The Warriors dropped just one set during the tournament, going three sets against the Dawson Knights in the semifinal. The Knights also gave them trouble in the round robin, losing 25-22, 25-23 to the Warriors.
“Dawson surprised a few people in this tournament,” said Bingham.
Rams three-peat in senior girls
F.H. Collins’ senior boys were not the only ones to make it three in a row on Saturday.
The Porter Creek Rams won their third straight Dawson title with a 25-22, 25-23 win over the Vanier Crusaders in the 11/12 girls final.
“It feels good. Last year I coached them and I have a lot of the same girls again this year, and it’s nice to work with them again,” said Rams head coach Amy Palamar. “And the new girls are a great addition.”
The Rams – the defending Yukon champs – split a two-set round robin match in Dawson with Vanier, who defeated Porter Creek in the Super Volley season opener at the start of October. The Rams have since won their last two Super Volley games in Whitehorse.
“My starting line-up, they work so well as a unit, and I can’t say one stood out more than another,” said Palamar. “They were always there for each other … We’ve been working on team unity and it showed this weekend, for sure.”
Vanier won both junior divisions last year in Dawson and three out of four divisions in 2011 and 2010.
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