Yukon volleyball team set for P.E.I. rematch after historic win

The Yukon men’s volleyball team made Canada Summer Games history on Sunday. On Wednesday, they will try to do it again, against the same team.

SHERBROOKE, QUE.

The Yukon men’s volleyball team made Canada Summer Games history on Sunday. On Wednesday, they will try to do it again, against the same team.

Yukon defeated Prince Edward Island 25-19, 25-20, 25-18 on Sunday to become the first team from the territory to defeat a province in volleyball at the Canada Games. Yukon has won matches before at the Canada Games over other territorial teams, but not a provincial one.

Following losses to Newfoundland and New Brunswick on Monday and Tuesday, Yukon is set to play P.E.I. a second time to determine which team takes 10th and which places last on Wednesday.

“That’ll be a tough match because P.E.I. certainly didn’t have their best match the first time we played them,” said Yukon head coach Russ Tait. “So we might see a different game and a different team tomorrow. But we’ll be ready for them.

“For some of the guys it’ll be the last competitive match they ever play, so it’ll be an emotional game for them, any which way. They’ve been playing together since Grade 6, some of them, and tomorrow will be their last competitive volleyball match together.”

The Yukon team was two points away from making it two in a row on Monday. Yukon narrowly lost 26-28, 26-24, 15-25, 25-23, 15-13 to Team Newfoundland and Labrador.

It was another big performance from Yukon’s Albert Spycher. The right-side player led the game in kills with 21 – a tournament high for the team – while middle Mason Gray and right-side Justin Dragoman had 10 apiece. Middle Jon Kolton had nine in the game.

Yukon took the first set on a kill from Spycher and Koltun raised the shields with a big block on set point in the third. Koltun later hit an ace to tie the final set 13-13, but the team dropped the next two points.

“I thought we played extremely well,” said Yukon co-captain and setter Lowell Tait. “There was no one on the team doing anything wrong … At the end of the match a couple points snuck away. No one felt we choked at the end, we felt like we tried our best and in the end it didn’t go our way.

“Our emotional game was awesome as well. Everyone stayed positive.”

Yukon lost 25-21, 25-14, 25-21 to New Brunswick in both teams’ first crossover games between the two pools on Tuesday. Spycher led the team in kills – again – with 11. Lowell and Kyle Wallace each had an ace.

“We were on and off,” said Lowell. “I think we’re starting to get tired. It’s been a long tournament. And they outsize us – we would have had to play our best game to beat these guys … There were definitely a few times where we could have stepped up, but I feel we played well. They’re a strong team and they all play university ball and are a lot taller.”

Yukon lost 25-15, 25-11, 25-11 to Ontario and 25-10, 25-12, 25-12 to B.C. on Saturday. They then lost 25-16, 25-19, 25-14 to Saskatchewan early Sunday afternoon before the historic win.

Not only was Sunday’s win over P.E.I. the first by a Yukon team over a province at the Canada Games – male or female – it was the first in the Western Canada Summer Games as well.

Yukon took early leads in each set against P.E.I. and never trailed during the match. Spycher, who delivered his team match point with a nifty tip, led the squad in kills with 10.

The Yukon men’s team has been a long time in the making. Many on the roster have been playing together since Grades 6 and 7 and up through high school in Whitehorse.

Four players were on Yukon’s first gold winning team in 26 years at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games.

Five played for Team Yukon at the 2011 Western Canada Summer Games in Kamloops, a squad that took sets off Saskatchewan and bronze-winning B.C.

There are also four players – Lowell, Grey, Spycher and co-captain Michael Hunter – who played at the post-secondary level last season.

“It’s great to be here, great to be part of the team,” said left-side Wallace. “I’m really thankful that I came from the Yukon.”

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Premier Sandy Silver, left, and Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley speak at a COVID-19 update press conference in Whitehorse on Nov. 19. On Nov. 24, Silver and Hanley announced masks will be mandatory in public places as of Dec. 1, and encouraged Yukoners to begin wearing masks immediately. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Masks mandatory in public places starting on Dec. 1

“The safe six has just got a plus one,” Silver said.

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks at a press conference in Whitehorse on March 30. Hanley announced three more COVID-19 cases in a release on Nov. 21. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three more COVID-19 cases, new exposure notice announced

The Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Brendan Hanley, announced three… Continue reading

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: COVID-19 strikes another blow at high-school students

They don’t show up very often in COVID-19 case statistics, but they… Continue reading

The Cornerstone housing project under construction at the end of Main Street in Whitehorse on Nov. 19. Community Services Minister John Streicker said he will consult with the Yukon Contractors Association after concerns were raised in the legislature about COVID-19 isolation procedures for Outside workers at the site. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Concerns raised about alternate self-isolation plans for construction

Minister Streicker said going forward, official safety plans should be shared across a worksite

Beatrice Lorne was always remembered by gold rush veterans as the ‘Klondike Nightingale’. (Yukon Archives/Maggies Museum Collection)
History Hunter: Beatrice Lorne — The ‘Klondike Nightingale’

In June of 1929, 11 years after the end of the First… Continue reading

Samson Hartland is the executive director of the Yukon Chamber of Mines. The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during its annual general meeting held virtually on Nov. 17. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Yukon Chamber of Mines elects new board

The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during… Continue reading

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and — unsurprisingly — hospital visitations were down. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Annual report says COVID-19 had a large impact visitation numbers at Whitehorse General

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

City council was closed to public on March 23 due to gathering rules brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The council is now hoping there will be ways to improve access for residents to directly address council, even if it’s a virtual connection. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Solution sought to allow for more public presentations with council

Teleconference or video may provide opportunities, Roddick says

Megan Waterman, director of the Lastraw Ranch, is using remediated placer mine land in the Dawson area to raise local meat in a new initiative undertaken with the Yukon government’s agriculture branch. (Submitted)
Dawson-area farm using placer miner partnership to raise pigs on leased land

“Who in their right mind is going to do agriculture at a mining claim? But this made sense.”

Riverdale residents can learn more details of the City of Whitehorse’s plan to FireSmart a total of 24 hectares in the area of Chadburn Lake Road and south of the Hidden Lakes trail at a meeting on Nov. 26. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Meeting will focus on FireSmart plans

Riverdale residents will learn more details of the City of Whitehorse’s FireSmarting… Continue reading

The City of Whitehorse is planning to borrow $10 million to help pay for the construction of the operations building (pictured), a move that has one concillor questioning why they don’t just use reserve funds. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Councillor questions borrowing plan

City of Whitehorse would borrow $10 million for operations building

Most Read