The F.H. Collins Warriors have finally gotten a monkey off their backs.
After coming close last year – so darn close last year – the Warrior senior boys have achieved the team’s first Triple Crown in Yukon high school volleyball.
“This is a big win for the school, not just the team,” said Warriors head coach Denis Boyd. “F.H. hasn’t ever won the Triple Crown, so we have the monkey off our back. F.H. is on the board and it was a total team effort, so I’m feeling pretty happy right now.”
The Warriors won the Dawson Invitational Volleyball Tournament at the start of November. They then won the Super Volley title, going undefeated during the Whitehorse league’s regular season.
They then pocketed the highly coveted Triple Crown by winning the senior boys division at the Yukon Volleyball Championships at F.H. Collins Secondary on Saturday.
Last season, the Warriors achieved the first two, but then lost in the final of the championships to the Vanier Crusaders.
“It’s really just a relief,” said Warriors power Max Clarke. “We were expected to win the whole year and it’s just a relief to get it over with. And considering last year’s disappointment, it’s just really good to get that under our belts.”
The Warriors capped the school’s standout season with a 25-19, 25-13 win over the Porter Creek Rams in Saturday’s final.
Despite the Warriors’ supremacy leading up the championships, the Rams had the momentum going into the final. The Porter Creek team went undefeated in the tournament’s round robin, dealing the Warriors their first loss of the season on Thursday.
“Our goal was to peak and play our best volleyball at the end of the season, and throughout the tournament we went 4-0 in the round robin, so we beat everybody – we were the only team to beat F.H. Collins and they were really good all year,” said Rams head coach Derick Bilodeau.
“We didn’t play our best game today. But it’s a long weekend and our guys played their best volleyball this weekend and during the tournament, so I’m really proud of them all. They are a great group of guys to coach and I’m happy with the outcome that we got.”
“We struggled as a group, we just didn’t have the killer attitude,” said Boyd of Thursday’s loss. “Porter Creek took our perfect season away from us. So not only did we want to get the Triple Crown – especially after coming up short last year – we had something to prove.
“We wanted to go out and prove we were the best team and the guys did it.”
After taking the lead at 13-12 in the first set, the Warriors
reached set point on a kill from Tristan Sparks and then took the set on a kill from Clarke.
Then tied 3-3 in the second set, the Warriors took the lead a final time on a kills from Peter Jacob, who later logged another to make it 18-11. The Warriors then went up 21-11 on three unreturned serves that came over the net like knuckleballs from Tim Schirmer.
Two more kills from Jacob moved his team to 23-13 before they got match point on a missed Porter Creek attack.
Clarke, who was named Tournament MVP, finished off the Rams with thundering spike.
“I thought the first set was interesting, in the second set PC sort of dropped off – their confidence was a little bit lower,” said Clarke. “But overall it was a pretty good game.
“It was good revenge because we had lost to them (on Thursday).”
Needless to say, the Warriors will attempt a second straight Triple Crown next season, but it won’t be easy. The team’s entire starting line – Clarke, Jacob, Schirmer, setter Ben Grundmanis, Sparks, Marcus Deuling, Allen Mark – will be graduating at the end of the school year.
“Unfortunately we are losing our entire starting line-up, but we have a great group of guys, Grade 11s, coming up next year,” said Boyd. “We’re still going to have a very strong team.”
“The juniors on the bench were really supportive; they’re a good group of guys to have on the team,” added Clarke. “They pushed us in practices and cheered during the games.”
The Vanier Crusaders captured senior boys bronze at the championships with a win over Dawson City’s Robert Service Knights.
Daniel Moses (Crusaders)
Galen Clark (Knights)
Jack Woodwalker (Rams)
Trygg Jensen (Rams)
Peter Jacob (Warriors)
Ben Grundmanis (Warriors)
MVP Max Clarke (Warriors)
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