The three Whitehorse high schools take turns hosting the Super Volley semis and finals, so there’s only one chance every three years to win on home turf.
That’s exactly what both Porter Creek Rams senior teams did at home on Friday in the Super Volley finals.
Last season the FH Collins Warriors senior girls team was the comeback squad, surviving six Ram match points before winning in the finals of the Dawson Invitational and then coming back from two sets down to defeat the Vanier Catholic Secondary Crusaders in the Super Volley semis.
On Friday the tables were turned.
In front of a home crowd, the Rams girls team lived up to their No. 1 seed, coming back from two sets down to defeat the Warriors 18-25, 24-26, 25-17, 25-20, 15-11 for the Super Volley title, Whitehorse high schools’ regular season championship.
“I keep telling them to fight and talk,” said Rams head coach Jordan Borgford. “We’re always striving for three contacts, and I’m always telling the girls I’m not worried about the end result, as long as they do the right things in between.
“I wanted them to swing all year and Emily McDougal stepped up and she’s turning into a fantastic side hitter for us.”
Clearly with a head for pressure situations, McDougal smashed down three kills in the four-point run to win the match in the fifth set. She was also named this season’s Super Volley’s MVP for the girls division.
“I think we showed that we wanted it, actually moving and getting there, and that turned it around for us. We get affected by nerves a lot, but in the end I guess we pulled through,” said Rams captain and the game’s MVP, Cassandra Andrew, who served out the final points of the match, on the final run.
“That was an accomplishment for me, usually my serves aren’t that fantastic,” said Andrew.
With little doubt, the turning point of the match came when Warriors captain and integral part of the team, Sara Fabbio-Swizdaryk, left the game with a leg injury at 15-13 for the Rams in the third set.
“I think her knee went sideways on her and she said she thought she her it pop and there was no coming back from that,” said Warriors head coach Ken Kuni. “Even if she wanted to, I wouldn’t have allowed her back on the court.
“It’s tough when you loose your captain, power hitter, inspirational leader when you’re up two sets and the girls couldn’t get it together enough to pull through and get that third set.”
Not helping the Warriors were a few highly questionable calls, including one that moved the Rams to within two points of the third set when a Warriors spike clearly went off a Rams blocker, but was called out. In the fourth, the Rams got set point, keeping a ball in play that appeared to have been spiked into the net and not off blockers, thereby breaking the three-hits rule.
“Calls go both ways,” said Kuni. “Refs aren’t infallible, just like players aren’t infallible and coaches aren’t infallible. But you can’t hang your hat on one call; you have to shake it off and go on with the next point.”
The Warriors advanced to the finals with a 23-25, 30-28, 25-22, 26-24 win over the Vanier Crusaders on Thursday night.
For the boys, it was a rematch of the senior final at the Dawson Invitational Volleyball Tournament, which was won by the Crusaders.
This time around the Rams won 25-21, 25-22, 13-25, 25-21.
“We really came together as a team and our serving and passing was a lot better,” said Rams power hitter and game MVP Jasper Martin.
“We kind of let off the gas a little bit – we weren’t pushing as hard as we could,” added Martin, speaking of the third set, which the Rams lost. “That happens a lot in volleyball where you lose momentum after you win (a set) and you think you’re going to get the win easy and you don’t.”
The Rams’ power game really was stepped-up in the second set with almost all the Rams’ points coming from kills from the front line.
“Derrik (Anderson) our outside hitter and Robin (Smith) our power hitter were my go-to guys for the ball and they really stepped it up,” said Martin. “We get it to them and they can put it away.”
Anderson was named the Super Volley’s season MVP for the boys.
The Crusaders advanced to finals with a four-set win over the FH Collins Warriors on Thursday. During the game, the Crusaders’ blocking was a major deciding factor to the eventual outcome, but it just wasn’t present on Friday, said Crusaders head coach Dwayne Stoker.
“They definitely were not up to snuff – a lot of mental errors – and Porter Creek came out swinging and our blocks were not there,” said Stoker. “They definitely were not like how they were in Dawson. Whether that’s all the exams and they’re pooped out … but it’s the same thing for the other kids too.”
Girls all-star team
Brittni Waddington (Crusaders)
Melanie Tait (Crusaders)
Chentelle Rivest (Rams)
Krista Mooney (Rams)
Rachael Tredger (Warriors)
Sara Fabbio-Swizdaryk (Warriors)
Boys all-star team
Ethan Struthers-Lavoie (Warriors)
Tanner Coyne (Warriors)
Riley Smith (Rams)
Aiden Love (Rams)
Jordan Holway (Crusaders)
Logan Gray (Crusaders)
Contact Tom Patrick at email@example.com