Super Volley finals matchups determined

Super Volley competition continued with the semifinals at F.H. Collins Secondary School on Nov. 4 as the Porter Creek Rams took on the F.H. Collins Warriors in girls play and the Vanier Crusaders faced the Porter Creek Rams in boys action.

Warriors beat Rams in girls semifinal

Nov. 4, 2021: F.H. Collins 3 – Porter Creek Rams 0 (25-21, 25-20, 25-15)

The F.H. Collins Warriors girls volleyball team took advantage of home court to dispatch the Porter Creek Rams 3-0 and punch a ticket to the Super Volley final against the Vanier Crusaders.

F.H. Collins built a very early 7-2 lead in the first set, but a timeout from the Porter Creek bench helped settle nerves as the Rams battled back to take an 11-9 lead and force a Warriors timeout.

Near the end of the first set, an incredibly close out-of-bounds call helped F.H. Collins hold on to a 23-21 lead and win the opening set 25-21.

In the second set, the Rams were again nearly all the Warriors could handle as the Porter Creek team held a 19-18 lead before strong serving from F.H. Collins led to a 7-1 run to win the set 25-20 and take a 2-0 lead.

From there, the Warriors built a 13-9 lead in the third set and earned a 25-15 win to take the match 3-0.

Warriors player Cassie Jensen said the game was fun to play in, but that her side could have controlled things more.

“I thought we definitely played a little rocky,” Jensen said. “There were definitely a few times we could have had a bit more control over things, but we played good and Porter Creek played good. … It was a good, even match.”

Despite the win-or-go-home stakes, F.H. Collins was able to give playing time to a number of players – something that could make the difference in finding the ideal lineup.

“It’s great we have a team we can all trust,” Jensen said. “We all know that each of us will play the best we can and try the hardest we can. We all want the same thing.”

And as for the plan against Vanier, the focus is passing.

“We’re just going to be focused on getting under those balls,” Jensen said. “Vanier has some big hitters and some big blockers, and if we can just get those balls up to our setter I think we’ll do great.”

Crusaders outlast Rams in boys semifinal

Nov. 4, 2021: Vanier 3 – Porter Creek 2 (25-16, 23-25, 22-25, 25-22, 15-9)

When the Vanier Crusaders came flying out of the gates against the Porter Creek Rams to take the first set 25-16, it was not exactly out of left field.

The Crusaders had already beaten the Rams once, and Porter Creek had yet to win a single Super Volley game this season.

For the remainder of the game however, these Rams were more reminiscent of another “winless” team, the 2019 F.H. Collins Warriors. That team did not win any games in the Super Volley round robin, but rounded into form just in time to win both the semifinal and final.

In the second set, the Rams played disciplined, diligent volleyball to build a small cushion that the team would manage successfully and won 25-23.

Porter Creek was able to duplicate that success earning a 25-22 win in the third set and putting the pressure squarely on Vanier.

The Crusaders responded after going down by four early, serving their way to a 25-22 win and setting up a final set to 15.

Vanier’s serving was again the difference in the final set, as an 8-2 lead allowed the team to cruise to a 15-9 win.

Sebastian Tajonera, setter for Vanier, said he was happy with the win but that his team would need to regroup before facing the Warriors in the final.

“I feel really good about winning a close game like that, but there are a lot of things that (my team and I) have to clean up first before we can beat that F.H. Collins team,” Tajonera said. “Porter Creek played really, really well today. They didn’t let the ball touch the ground much. We just perservered through and got that extra bit of energy from each other at the end of the set.”

While the 2021 Rams are not the 2019 Warriors, the youngest team in the competition put a scare into the Crusaders and at the very least has helped setup an entertaining rubber match between the two Riverdale schools tomorrow.

“We’ve been underestimating other teams – thinking we’re the best – but certainly that’s not the case any more,” Tajonera said. “We have to work hard to win the game – that’s what we’re going to do. We’re not going to underestimate them. We’re going to make more serves tomorrow and hopefully come out on top.”

Super Volley finals

And so after three weeks of round robin play and a night of semifinals, all that remains are the finals on Nov. 5 at F.H. Collins Secondary School in Whitehorse.

Action starts with the girls final at 5 p.m. followed by the boys final at 7 p.m. Both games are between the F.H. Collins Warriors and the Vanier Crusaders.

Following Super Volley, the next major competition will be the YSAA Senior Volleyball Championships from Nov. 25 to 27, also at F.H. Collins Secondary School in Whitehorse.