Vanier’s junior boys team cut through two doses of black and gold to win the Pepsi Volleyball Yukon Championships at Porter Creek Secondary on Saturday.
After defeating the F.H. Collins “9” Team in the semifinal, the Vanier Crusaders downed the F.H. Collins “10” Team 25-18, 25-21 in the final to take gold.
Crusaders head coach Dustin Shewfelt was happy with the win. Actually, he was happy he had enough players to compete in the final.
“I was a bit nervous at the beginning because by three quarters through the second set (of the junior girls final) we had three, four guys here, so we were late starting,” said Shewfelt. “So it was hard to get them focused, ready to play for the first whistle. But the team came together really well. They came out right from the get-go ready to play.”
The Crusaders trailed the Warriors for the majority of both sets during the final. When they fell behind 19-13 in the second set, Shewfelt called a timeout to get his team back on track.
“During a timeout I try not to talk too much,” said Shewfelt. “If it’s something they are doing well, I’ll start with that. If there are things that need to be changed, I’ll try between two and three little things they can change without be too wordy. Keep it short and simple and make sure they can focus on those three things when the whistle comes.”
Whatever he said, it seems to have worked. Vanier climbed back into the game beginning with a kill and an ace from RJ Siosan and tied the set 19-19 on a spike from Kyle Rubio.
Rubio also delivered the winning serve in the first set and was named tournament MVP.
“He was probably the most consistent hitter through that final game,” said Shewfelt. “He was able to hit through the block. And just make the smart play when the hit wasn’t there. Kyle was really good at keeping the ball alive and keeping it in play, whether it’s an off set or passing up a free ball … He’s a very smart player.”
The Crusaders took the match on a volley from setter and captain Daniel Moses, who said he was surprised by the win.
“I thought they were the stronger team,” said Moses. “They were better at passing and hitting at the beginning of the year, but then we got better.”
Vanier, who won the Dawson Invitational Volleyball Tournament, lost to the Warrior finalists team comprised of Grade 10 players during the tournament’s round-robin.
“We split up our training squad into a Grade 9 team and a Grade 10 team about two weeks ago with the aim of finishing first and second,” said Warriors head coach Peter Grandmanis.
“We played well to get here, came up a little bit short today. Vanier has a big, experience team and it showed through with a couple-point difference in each set today.”
The Warriors “9” Team defeated Dawson’s Robert Service School Knights 25-18, 25-23 for the bronze.
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