It was like a perfect storm for volleyball finals.
After a day of fierce round-robin play followed by playoffs, none of the teams in finals of the Yukon Elementary School Volleyball Champions had suffered a loss.
For the winning teams, it meant a perfect season.
Capturing gold on the boys’ side was the Whitehorse Elementary Wolves Team 1, downing the Hidden Valley Huskies 25-23, 25-15.
In the girls final, Takhini Elementary Timberwolves took gold with a 25-16, 25-22 win over the Jack Hulland Elementary Hawks.
The matchup between the Wolves and the Huskies in the boys final was just the latest chapter in an emerging rivalry. In the regular season the two teams met, going three sets – 15-13 in the third – with the Wolves taking the win. In fact, the set the Wolves dropped in that match was the only one they lost during the regular season.
“They played well, but I’m not surprised because they practiced lots,” said Team 1 Wolves coach Rene Drysdelle. “They did a lot of pushups to get that good at service and they played like a team and had fun.”
After winning the closely contested first set on an ace from Tristan Inglis-Coneau, the Wolves jumped out to a 4-1 lead on an ace from Tristan Sparks to start the second set. The serving of Sparks, and teammate Sho Kobayashi, helped the Wolves hold their lead with strings of consecutively won points to reach match point at 24-13.
“It’s heartbreaking, I guess, because we knew we had a chance,” said Huskies coach Chris Stacey. “With everyone watching, it was quite an intense atmosphere.”
The Huskies managed to stave off one match point, with Trig Jenson, a main component of the Huskies’ squad who made a handful of saves in the game, putting a kill off a Wolves blocker.
“He’s a very athletic young man,” said Stacey. “He got everyone going with the competitiveness and the belief that they could do it – he typifies that.”
Not only undefeated in the girls’ side of the tournament, the Timberwolves traversed the competition without dropping a set at the tournament. In fact, the Timberwolves went undefeated during the regular season, dropping only one set along the way.
“We have girls that are willing to try, willing to change, willing to listen when they are asked to do something, and girls that are willing to work together as a team,” said Glenna Howard, a coach for the Timberwolves.
Last year, the Timberwolves lost in the first round of the playoffs at the championship, but on Saturday the team had six Grade 7s and three Grade 6s, compared to almost the opposite last year.
“Every single one of them showed great improvement since the start of the year,” said Howard. “They really worked hard as a team. I could tell you something positive about each and every player.”
According to Hawks coach Krystal McKenna, her players also showed improvement throughout the season, but nerves were a factor in the loss.
“The kids really improved since the very beginning and they were really nervous,” said McKenna. “I think they got their nerves out in the first set and then were able to play their game. The other team was just as good and managed to win.
“Samantha Wintemute, her serves were amazing, Hanna Milner, she worked really hard the whole time and went for the ball – everybody did fantastic.”
In the battle for third in the girls draw, the Hidden Valley Huskies defeated the Holy Family Hurricanes 25-19, 25-10.
In the boys’ bronze-medal game, the Whitehorse Elementary Wolves Team 2 took third with a symmetrical 25-18, 25-18 win over the Takhini Elementary Timberwolves.
The championships were held at Porter Creek Secondary.
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