Players on the Porter Creek Rams react to a ball from the Vanier Crusaders during a boys volleyball game at the 2019 Spook and Spike volleyball tournament on Nov. 2 in Whitehorse. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News)

Vanier sweeps at Spook and Spike volleyball tournament

Crusaders teams finished one-two in both the girls and boys divisions

Grade 8 volleyball players from across Whitehorse took part in the 2019 Spook and Spike volleyball tournament on Nov. 1 and 2 at Porter Creek Secondary School and F.H. Collins Secondary School.

The first competitive tournament for the age group, the event was a chance both for players to test their skills and for coaches to see the growth of their teams.

“Everyone was excited to really test themselves against other teams to see how they would, in fact, match up,” said Peter Grundmanis, executive director of the Yukon Schools Athletic Association. “The coaches were eager to see what their efforts were resulting in.”

Rather than having timed games, teams played full sets to determine the winner — something Grundmanis explained adds just enough pressure to make it fun for players.

“It was a fun tournament. The prize was a bag of Halloween candy at the end,” said Grundmanis. “It ramps up the pressure just enough to keep it interesting for the kids.”

Winning teams also received trophies befitting a Halloween-themed tournament — winged skeletons with a pile of skulls-turned-volleyballs.

The tournament was also a chance for the teams to get in some more serious game time before the Grade 8 Yukon Championships from Nov. 14 to 16 at F.H. Collins.

On the court, it was a clean sweep for Vanier Catholic Secondary School. The Crusaders finished first and second in both the girls and boys divisions.

Both divisions used a round-robin format, with the girls final being a match between the first and second place finishers and the boys final being the first-place team taking on the winner of a semi-final between second and third.

Overall, Grundmanis said that keeping track of results seemed to add to the event.

“It was a lot of fun,” he said. “Intensity and pressure aside, the kids really enjoyed it.”

The tournament also invited players to come in costume, although none did this year.

“Not one piece of face paint,” said Grundmanis. “It’s a little disappointing that way, but it is after (Halloween).”

In addition to the Grade 8 Yukon Championships, the Grade 9 and 10 Yukon Championships are also happening Nov. 14 to 16.

The senior Yukon Championships and Grade 7 Yukon Championships are the following weekend, Nov. 21 to 23.

Contact John Hopkins-Hill at john.hopkinshill@yukon-news.com

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