Warrior girls pickup first win of season

While the Warrior senior boys team is still searching for that elusive, first Super Volley win of the season, the girls’ team managed to get their first ‘W’ under their belt on Friday at home.

While the Warrior senior boys team is still searching for that elusive, first Super Volley win of the season, the girls’ team managed to get their first ‘W’ under their belt on Friday at home.

Hosting the Vanier Crusaders, the Warrior girls (1-2) took a 25-17, 14-25, 25-16, 25-18 win over their Riverdale neighbours.

“The girls played well tonight,” said Warriors head coach Ken Kuni. “Last night we couldn’t pass up, tonight we were able to pass up, and take advantage of those good passes. And we didn’t give up on balls tonight, which I love to see – you can’t give up on balls.

“When we all do the little things right, we look good.”

Although the Warriors maintained control in the sets they won, they came out flat in the second, allowing the Crusaders to jump out to a 13-0 lead on the serve of Patty Wallingham. Instead of calling a timeout, Kuni decided to let his team attempt to right the ship on their own.

“Sometimes, as a coach, you want to do something, and sometimes you want them to work it out themselves,” said Kuni. “I could have tried something, but I wanted to see if they would work it out themselves.

“In the end they brought it back to 24-14 – they didn’t give up on the game.”

In the two teams’ previous encounter at the start of the season the Crusaders (1-2)  actually downed the Warriors in straight sets.

“Tonight was an off night for us, I guess,” said Crusaders power hitter Samantha Henney. “Communication – we weren’t talking a lot out on the court, we were pretty quiet.”

Giving the Warriors their final two points with a pair of kills was power hitter Marley Kolpin, who is from Dawson City and was named her team’s Player of the Game.

“She played well tonight,” said Kuni. “She had a couple saves, she had good power, she had good serves again like last night and I’m certainly happy to have her.”

Taking the corresponding honour on the Crusaders bench was middle Kelsey Smeeton.

“She started out not passing too well, so she got benched for a set,” said Henney. “She just had to realize what she had to do and she fixed it.”

Friday’s win for the Warriors comes the night after losing 25-15, 25-18, 25-18 to the Porter Creek Rams.

Although the Warriors took multiple-point leads in all three sets, the Rams had too many hot-streaks from the service line for the home team to stay in the game – not that the Warriors’ service game was lacking.

“I was happy with our serving that match,” said Kuni. “That’s usually something that I’m not happy with.”

The Warriors came out strong in the first set, taking a 12-3 lead with a nine-point run on the serve of Kolpin. However, Ram Emilie Nugent put home three aces in a 12-point run to put her team up 15-12. Two aces from Ram Anna Smith then helped close out the set.

“We’re still having problems with our first touches, so it’s something we could work on in practice – getting our first touch up to our setters,” said Kuni. “Our setters are doing well, our hitters are doing well and we’re getting some blocks in, we’re just not leaving our setter with good balls to deal with.”

“That was one of our goals: 96 per cent serving,” said Rams captain Erin Borgford. “I think we reached it. We have quite a few good float servers.”

Crusaders take win without captain

Despite missing their captain – and only Grade 12 player – Henry Kedziora, the senior boys’ Crusaders team kept their flawless Super Volley season record in tact Friday at FH Collins, defeating the hosting Warriors 25-23, 25-9, 20-25, 25-9.

The undefeated Crusaders (3-0) dealt with the absence of the captain, who was injured playing with the Warriors as a guest player in a Vancouver tournament, by relying more on tall middle Jared Warsfold, who made back-to-back blocks in the rally to give his team match-point.

“He just started last spring,” said Crusaders head coach Russ Tait. “I said, ‘You’re six-eight, you have to play volleyball. I don’t care what you say.’ If you can have an ideal body type for a national team player, that’s what he has. He’s improved so much.”

However, taking in the Player of the Game for the Crusaders was setter Lowell Tait.

“He’s the youngest of four kids – he has three older sisters who all played volleyball,” said Tait. “He’s been around volleyball since he was a baby.

“He understands the game super well and he runs the offense in such a way that keeps the other team guessing.”

Named the Player of the Game for the winless Warrirors (0-3) was Dillon Vickerman.

“Our passing was good. We were finally getting balls up straight to Trevor (Hannah), our setter,” said Vickerman, speaking of the fourth set, which the Warriors won. “Our passing was our main thing.”

In their season home opener the previous evening, the Warriors fell 25-15, 25-20, 25-13 to the Porter Creek Rams.

With all three sets reaching a 12-12 score, the Rams’ ability to close off the sets seemed to be the deciding factor in the game.

“We can play better, but it’s tough to get on a roll against a team like that, that doesn’t have that much experience,” said Rams captain Robin Smith. “They don’t have the experience to get a full game going – the game can’t flow against a team like that.”

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com

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