With the exception of the Porter Creek Rams A team, which is competing in a tournament in BC, all the 9/10 boys’ and girls’ volleyball teams from Whitehorse high schools attended Vanier Secondary for inter-league play on Wednesday.
Although all the coaches had blasé attitudes towards the scores, placing more emphasis on the quality of play than the outcomes, there was one detail that a few coaches had strong feelings about.
One side of Vanier’s main gym, in which the girls’ games were played, the volleyball courts’ baseline lies less than two feet from the wall, which caused some teams to suffer from numerous foot-faults.
“This drives me insane,” said FH Collins Black Warriors coach Ken Kuni, gesturing towards the courts’ baseline. “I try to talk to the refs and say, ‘Let them have a little bit of leeway.”
Because of the close proximity to the wall, players are allowed to step over the line, but many servers were called for foot-faults for dragging their back foot over the line as they moved through the ball.
“Definitely where the service line is,” said Warriors White team coach May Nguyen, listing a problem her team faced while serving from the cramped side against the Vanier Crusaders Blue team.
“That probably is why they weren’t as strong the second game. Eventually they got used to it during the rest of the game.”
“It completely messes up the mechanics of serving,” added Kuni. “They’re thinking about their feet, and if they’re thinking about their feet, they can’t serve.
Porter Creek boys
Playing only two sets in each of the nine games that took place, many of the games resulted in ties. However, only one team did not require a third set (which would not have taken place anyway).
The Porter Creek Rams failed to drop a set in their two matches, beating both the FHC and Vanier.
“We were trying different line-ups,” said Rams coach Mike Kelly. “Through out the whole evening there was no set line.”
After taking the first set 25-16 against FHC, the Rams faced a bit more of a fight in the second.
“In the second set FH came out and was playing much more as a team,” said Kelly. “They weren’t making as many unforced errors, which forced us to play a lot tighter. We weren’t getting as many easy points that set.”
Against Vanier, the Rams again had a tougher second set, winning 25-12, 25-21. However, Kelly points to his team’s play in the first set to explain the discrepancy.
“It was a point-for-point kind of set,” said Kelly. “It was really close up to 10 (points each) and then we sort of got into a good roll there.”
On the other end of the spectrum, the FHC Warriors boys’ team failed to pick up a set. Nonetheless, coach Grant Lyon was pleased with his team’s performance, and the play of one player in particular.
Tanner Coyne, who usually players middle hitter or power hitter for the Warriors, was moved to setter for the two games and fit into place like a puzzle piece.
“He’s the player that played the strongest for us,” said Lyon. “A few mishaps, but, you know, for the first real matches playing as a setter, he did well.”
Despite playing with just one Grade 10 player, the Vanier Crusaders managed to pickup a straight set win over the FHC, before losing to Porter Creek.
“When we’re playing against FH, it’s more of a scattered game,” said Crusaders coach Russ Tait. “They’ve got a team that’s learning, so it’s not as set around the structure that volleyball is — it’s a lot more random.”
Like the coaches of the other teams, Tait puts little stock in the inter-league games, placing his concern on tournaments.
“These games are exhibition as much as anything,” said Tait. “So we don’t keep too close tabs on who’s won what or lost what at this point. Dawson (Invitational Volleyball Tournament) is where you start to dial things in.”
FHC girls’ White team
Leaving with a pair of ties, the Warriors White team had to deal with continuous shifts in momentum. The Warriors tied the Vanier Blue team 25-19, 24-26 and then the Vanier Red team 25-15, 19-25. (No score was recorded for their game against Porter Creek.)
“It’s all about momentum in the game,” said Nguyen. “When they feel confident and they actually feel well, they keep carrying it on. But when something goes wrong, they have to adjust, and that’s something that the whole team needs to work on. Otherwise, I thought they did extremely well.”
According to Nguyen, laughter is the best medicine for when her team begins to slump.
“We would laugh about it,” said Nguyen. “That’s our way of getting over it.”
FHC girls’ Black team
Picking up a tie against Vanier Red and defeating Vanier Blue, the Warriors Black team had one of the better results out of the five girls’ teams. (No score was recorded for their game against Porter Creek.)
“It’s going well, every time they come out they’re doing better,” said Kuni. “As a coach that’s all I can ask for.”
As was a common sentiment among coaches, Kuni considers the inter-league play to be a sort of practice for the upcoming Dawson City Invitational.
“We’re trying to get the girls used to playing with each other, having consistency with the people besides them,” said Kuni.
Vanier Red and Blue
Vanier’s Stacy McDiarmid was easily the busiest coach on the courts. Usually just the Vanier Red team coach, McDiarmid found herself filling in as the Blue team coach as well.
“All our games were really close, I think it comes down to serving,” said McDiarmid. “The number one thing that this age-group can work on is serving. That’s the number-one reason why we lose points.”
Porter Creek Blue Team
Porter Creek Rams Blue’s coach was unavailable for comment.
Van. def. FHC 25-19, 25-22;
PC def. FHC 25-16, 25-23;
PC def. Van. 25-12, 25-21
FHC Black tied Van. Red 25-23, 22-25;
FHC White tied Van. Blue 25-19, 24-26;
FHC Black def. Van. Blue 25-13, 25-9;
PC Blue vs. FH White n/a;
FHC White ties Van. Red 25-15; 19-25;
PC Blue vs. FHC Black n/a
(All results are unofficial.)