If her team was going to go down, Yukon girls head coach Natasha Bilodeau wanted them to go down swinging.
“There is nothing about that game I would have changed – the girls did everything we asked them to,” said Bilodeau. “One of the things we asked them to do is to swing hard, even if they’re tipping, if they’re dumping, just keep swinging. And they swung and took chances.
“And they missed some, but they hit a lot of them.”
Despite aggressive play throughout the match, the Yukon girls volleyball team was pushed into last place with a 23-25, 25-23,25-23,18-25,15-10 loss to NWT on Saturday at the Western Canada Summer Games in Kamloops, BC.
“I thought we played awesome and we fought very well,” said Yukon captain Robyn Fortune. “It would have been nice to win, but it was still a great game.
“We were communicating well and everyone was doing their jobs well. And everyone was playing good; people did what they needed to do.”
The match was the closest and longest of the round-robin portion of the tournament, almost reaching the 2.5-hour mark.
“I think it was a great end to the season because it was by far the best they’ve played as an entire team,” said Bilodeau. “The whole season through to get us here, and the whole tournament, every single player did their job, played their role, and everyone had such a big contribution to where we were in this game today – on and off the field.”
Yukon took the first set in a come-from-behind effort, reaching 21-21 after being down 17-8. The team grabbed a 24-23 lead with Corey Baxter tapping the ball over NWT blockers. Teammate Courtney Greenway then gave her team the set, knocking back the ball on a first hit.
“I think the Northwest Territories got a little bit chippy and a little bit dumpy, tossing it over in (sets) two and three,” said Bilodeau. “That’s a hard adjustment to make, to be still playing your own game. So I just think their play changed and we didn’t change quick enough.
“But we played our game the whole way through.”
The Yukon squad then captured the fourth set handily. Sealing the deal was defensive specialist Kiana Palamar, spiking the ball deep into the NWT court from the back row.
“I thought Corey played huge in the middle, even though she’s one of our shortest players,” said Fortune. “Julianna (Campbell) got some sick blocks. Heather (Clarke), Kelsey (Smeeton), Courtney (Greenway), were all swinging awesome. Kiana (Palamar) had awesome passes – just everyone was playing well.”
Taking no sets off the provinces in the round-robin, the Yukon girls pushed NWT to four sets in their previous encounter, losing 22-25, 25-18, 25-20, 25-18 on Friday.
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