The F.H. Collins Warriors missed the little fish this season but caught the big one on Saturday.
After losing in the finals of the Dawson Invitational and the Super Volley high school league, the Warriors won the Grade 11/12 boys division at the YSAA Volleyball Championship at Porter Creek Secondary School.
The win marked the third straight senior boys title for the school.
“To be honest, going into this season the whole team was so cocky,” said Warriors captain Sam Finton. “I was saying, ‘Easy win. Triple Crown.’ I thought we were going to pull it off so well and then we started Super Volley and started losing to Porter Creek. The other teams we did well against, but Porter Creek had us from the start.
“We were shocked that they were beating us, but they played really well the whole time.”
In the closest and most exciting final on Saturday, the Warriors beat the Porter Creek Rams 23-25, 25-23, 25-23, 19-25, 15-8, denying the Rams a Triple Crown. The Rams won the Dawson Invitational and placed first in Super Volley without losing a single match.
“We’re pretty excited we stopped PC’s Triple Crown,” said Warriors power Adrian Robinson.
“I think we came in with a more relaxed mindset and tried to do our best, get our chemistry going. We have had games in which our chemistry was great but haven’t been able to finish off and that’s what we tried to do this tournament.”
Tied two sets a piece, the Warriors took a 5-4 lead on an illegal hit by the Rams. The Warriors then grew the lead to 8-5 on back-to-back blocks from Finton and 12-7 on two kills, also from Finton. Two more kills from Anshil Kumar and Brody Ryckman gave them match point before a missed attack from the Rams ended it.
“A lot of it came down to our emotions on the court: staying calm, even when we’re down a few points. That was a big factor,” said Finton. “Learning not to kill the ball every time. At the beginning we were just hammering it, even if it was into the block, every time. So, a little more finesse, some sneaky plays, but it works.”
Robinson, who delivered the winning serve at the end of the second set, was named season MVP. Saturday was Robinson’s final game as a Warrior as the Grade 11 player will move to South Africa before next season.
“It’s an honour,” said Robinson. “I’m pretty surprised. I feel like a lot of my teammates deserved it.”
“He was just hammering it through the block consistently,” said Finton. “At the beginning of the year he’d get so down on himself if he shanked a ball. I think he really learned to keep himself happy.
“I’m so proud of him. He stepped it up amazingly.”
Dawson City’s Robert Service School Knights defeated the Vanier Crusaders to take home the senior boys bronze, winning 12-25, 25-20, 16-14.
“All the guys are good friends with the Porter Creek guys,” added Finton. “I’m sure they’re a little grumpy right now but we’re all going to get along later.”
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jared Morgan (Crusaders)
Zack Bartholomeus (Knights)
Robert Smallwood (Rams)
Morgan Schmidt (Rams)
Lukas Kobler (Warriors)
Anshil Kumar (Warriors)
MVP Adrian Robinson (Warriors)