Super Volley season begins

The competitive season for high school volleyball began last week when Porter Creek Secondary School hosted the first two nights of Super Volley matches.

Things got underway on Sept. 23 when the F.H. Collins Warriors made the trek from Riverdale to take on the Porter Creek Rams, and action continued on Sept. 24 with the Vanier Cruaders facing off with the Rams.

Super Volley resumes on Oct. 7 when Porter Creek visits Vanier and on Oct. 8 when F.H. Collins visits Vanier.

Rams win girls opener over Warriors

Sept. 23, 2021: Porter Creek 3 – F.H. Collins 1 (23-25, 26-24, 25-16, 25-22)

After more than a year without a competitive match, it was no surprise to see both teams in the opening girls Super Volley match start slow out of the gate.

The Warriors managed to stay in front for the first set, earning a hard-fought 25-23 win.

In the second set, it looked like F.H. Collins was well on the way to grabbing a commanding 2-0 lead when Porter Creek called a timeout down 24-23. Whatever was said in the huddle did the trick, as the Rams rattled off three straight points to win 26-24 and tie the match at one set apiece.

The momentum carried over into the third set, with the Rams winning comfortably 25-16.

After some changes in the lineups, the two schools played down to the wire in a close fourth set as the Rams did enough to secure the win with a 25-22 victory to take the match.

Players of the game were Jaida Allen for the Porter Creek Rams and Kate Muller for the F.H. Collins Warriors.

Allen, setter for the Rams and one of the few athletes who competed in Super Volley 2019, said being back on the court was “amazing.”

“It’s really nice to see people come out to watch,” Allen said. “To have people cheering for you and (even) being able to sit on the bench together is just really good.”

The credit for the comeback, Allen said, lies with the team’s improving communication.

“I think (the team) shook off (our) nerves a lot in the first game,” Allen said. “Our team really struggled in the Early Bird with communication, but we worked on it a lot at these couple practices before the game and we started talking way more, which means the game just worked for us; it clicks if we talk.”

F.H. Collins boys win against Porter Creek

Sept. 23, 2021: F.H. Collins 3 – Porter Creek 2 (25-13, 13-25, 25-13, 18-25, 15-10)

The F.H. Collins Warriors won an exciting back-and-forth five-set contest against the Porter Creek Rams to return to play in the win column.

The Warriors decisively won the opening set 25-13, but the Rams regrouped and returned the favour to win the second set 25-13 and tie the match 1-1.

F.H. Collins then retook control, winning the third set by yet another 25-13 scoreline.

Another strong effort from the Rams saw victory in the fourth set, 25-18, to setup a final set to 15 for the win.

In the last set, the Warriors did enough to win 15-10 in the closest set of the match.

Players of the game were Quinn Lieu-Ashthorn for F.H. Collins and Max Wanner for Porter Creek.

Lieu-Ashthorn helped move the needle for the Warriors with both his serving and attacking play, as both teams worked to shake off the rust.

While F.H. Collins was the winner on this day, Lieu-Ashthorn knows the season has a lot of volleyball left to play.

“We’ve had some good practices and I think we’re really coming along as a team,” Lieu-Ashthorn said. “(The Rams) are definitely really good. They have a lot of new players, but I think by the end of the year it should be a good fight.”

Vanier wins over Porter Creek girls

Sept. 24, 2021: Vanier 3 – Porter Creek 0 (25-17, 25-14, 25-23)

The Porter Creek Rams were looking to be fast out of the gate against the Vanier Crusaders, no doubt buoyed by the previous day’s win.

Vanier, however, was able to take the Rams out of rhythm and through some strong serving secured a 25-17 win in the first set.

Porter Creek spent a lot of the second set on the back foot, working hard to deal with Vanier’s serving and aggressive play at the net, and the Crusaders emerged with a 25-14 win and a 2-0 lead.

It looked like the Rams would take the third set as some lineup tweaks for both sides helped Porter Creek build a 20-13 lead over Vanier.

Vanier, however, wasn’t interested in a fourth set and rattled off a 12-3 run to win the set 25-23 and the match 3-0.

Players of the game were Avery Workman for the Rams and Jen Tuton for the Crusaders.

Tuton echoed the words of other players, noting how much she enjoyed being back on the court.

“It was amazing,” Tuton said. “We haven’t gotten to play for two years and to have the fans also made a big difference.”

She said her team was able to stay calm and do enough to win the third set.

“We know we had it,” Tuton said. “We know we’re a good team, we trust each other, and we know how we each play.”

Crusaders beat Rams in boys match

Sept. 24, 2021: Vanier 3 – Porter Creek 1 (25-19, 25-14, 23-25, 25-18)

Much like the girls match, things started well for the Porter Creek boys on the second night of Super Volley.

A quick 6-1 lead for the Rams forced the Vanier Crusaders to take a very early timeout.

Credit to the Crusaders though, as they settled in and worked their way back to win the opening set 25-19.

Vanier was victorious again in the second set, winning 25-14 to take a 2-0 lead.

Porter Creek circled the wagons in the third set, earning a well-deserved 25-23 win to force a fourth set.

It proved to be not enough on this day, however, as Vanier was able to win 25-18 in the fourth to get the 3-1 match win.

Players of the game were Conlan Wilson for Vanier and Alex Gray for Porter Creek.

Wilson said he and his teammates were able to get comfortable in front of the crowd and win the match.

“Super Volley is every high school player’s dream,” Wilson said. “It was really nice to be able to play full court, … just having people watch us and the adrenaline – it was fantastic.”

“It’s just getting those jitters out because usually we’re playing in our own gym,” Wilson said. “Playing in a different school, full court, with a crowd – I think it’s something that will build over time, and something we can work on is ‘playing live.'”

Super Volley standings

With the first week of Super Volley in the books, the girls standings have Vanier at 1-0, Porter Creek at 1-1 and F.H. Collins at 0-1.

In boys competition, F.H. Collins and Vanier are 1-0 while Porter Creek is 0-2.

It’s still all very much to play for, however, as all three schools are at least guaranteed a semifinal berth with a bye on the line for the top finisher in each division.