Super Volley winners crowned

Organized by the Yukon Schools Athletic Association, the 2021 Super Volley competition concluded with the finals at F.H. Collins Secondary School on Nov. 5 as the F.H. Collins Warriors took on the Vanier Crusaders in both the girls and boys finals.

Crusaders girls undefeated with win over Warriors

Nov. 5, 2021: Vanier 3 – F.H. Collins 0 (25-16, 25-11, 25-21)

Following a victory over the Porter Creek Rams in the semifinal, the F.H. Collins Warriors girls volleyball team entered the Super Volley final against the Vanier Crusaders hoping to avenge a pair of round-robin losses.

The Crusaders entered the final with an undefeated record, including both four-set and five-set victories over the Warriors. Most recently, the Warriors had battled back from an 0-2 set deficit to force a fifth set.

Action in the final got off to a measured start, with both sides playing hard to secure a win in the first set.

An injury to Warriors setter Abbey Campbell forced some lineup shuffling and the Crusaders were able to take a 25-16 win to build a 1-0 lead.

In the second set, the Crusaders forced a Warriors timeout with a 15-10 lead and then another with a 20-11 lead. The breaks in the action weren’t enough to halt Vanier’s momentum however, and the Crusaders won the second set 25-11 with Campbell unable to remain on the court despite efforts to return to play.

The third set saw the Warriors cut an early Crusaders lead down to 9-7, which was close enough to spark a Vanier timeout. From there, F.H. Collins took a timeout of its own with the Crusaders up 14-12 on the way to winning the third and final set 25-21.

Following the game, Crusaders players Jen Tuton and Carla Dumadag weighed in on winning the first YSAA competition in nearly two years.

“I think it’s more emotional for us because we didn’t get this last year and it’s out first – and last – (time) so we never get to experience this again,” Dumadag said. “And it’s something I think we can remember forever.”

“It just feels amazing,” Tuton added.

While the final score shows 3-0, the game was much closer than it appeared at first glance and Vanier’s ability to keep to its gameplan was crucial.

“We’ve all been playing for a really long time together so I think we’re used to each other’s habits,” Dumadag said.

The team members trust each other, Tuton said, and are good friends off the court.

The Yukon Championships are indefinitely delayed as part of the latest public health efforts to combat COVID-19 in the territory, but if and when they’re played, the Crusaders know they are the team to beat.

“I think we need to work on some more things and remember that we’re a good team,” Tuton said.

Dumadag agreed.

“We know what we can do and we know we can do it well.”

Warriors beat Crusaders in marathon boys final

Nov. 5, 2021: F.H. Collins 3 – Vanier 2 (22-25, 29-27, 23-25, 29-27, 15-11)

Both the F.H. Collins Warriors and Vanier Crusaders entered the Super Volley boys final with one loss on their respective records, each coming at the hands of the other.

It was no surprise then that the two teams had a thrilling five-set match where passion and excitement overcame some sloppy play to make for one of the season’s most exciting games.

A back-and-forth first set saw Vanier build a 20-15 lead before an F.H. Collins timeout helped the Warriors cut the lead down to 23-19 and put the Crusaders on the backfoot.

A timeout from Vanier helped calm things down and the Crusaders went on to win the opening set 25-22.

The Warriors were up 9-7 in the second set, but from there the Crusaders rallied back to take a 23-21 lead. A timeout for F.H. Collins did enough to help the Warriors stay in the set down 24-23 when Vanier took a second timeout.

In a marathon finish, the Warriors held on win 29-27 capped by a rare underhand serve from John London.

The third set began with the Warriors on the offensive. A 6-2 lead forced Vanier into an early timeout, and a second with an 18-12 lead had F.H. Collins poised to take a 2-1 lead.

The Crusaders however, had other ideas and rallied back to 22-20 and then 23-22 deficits before ultimately winning the third set 25-23.

In the fourth set, the Warriors forced an early timeout from Vanier up 10-7 and maintained a 20-19 lead when the Warriors took their own second timeout. From there, the two teams traded points until the Warriors were able to clinch a 29-27 win to tie things up at 2-2.

The fifth set was a race to 15 winner-take-all decider and it was the Warriors who were first to eight, swapping sides with an 8-6 lead.

From there, the Warriors managed their lead and held on for a 15-11 win to take the match 3-2 and win Super Volley.

Warriors player Seamus O’Brien said his team found their form at the perfect time.

“It’s great,” O’Brien said. “Our team really improved in the past few weeks and it’s just good to see how well we played.”

Vanier played its usual aggressive style, with trademark confidence serving and attacking, but O’Brien and company were able to weather the onslaught.

“We had some big hitters, so I think we just got hyped and then rode that high the whole game,” O’Biren said. “I think this game showed we can take it all the way – we could win this whole thing – and I think we can do a lot better next time to fix some of those errors that were there tonight.”

Super Volley all-stars, MVPs recognized

Following the conclusion of each final game, all-star teams were announced for the competition in addition to most valuable players.

The girls all-star team included Jaida Allen and Nia Temira from Porter Creek, Kate Muller and Lily Kremer from F.H. Collins, and Jewnwel Junsay and Carla Dumadag from Vanier.

The boys all-star team was made up of Max Wanner and Alex Grey from Porter Creek, Ryder Twardochleb and Sebastian Tajonera from Vanier, and John London and Noah Connell from F.H. Collins.

The Super Volley MVPs were Jen Tuton from Vanier for teh girls and Seamus O’Brien from F.H. Collins for the boys.

YSAA sports on hold indefinitely

The Yukon government announced a state of emergency late on Nov. 8, which included suspending “activities between schools” until further notice, effectively putting a pause on the upcoming Yukon Senior Volleyball Championships and likely delaying the YSAA basketball season as well.

The YSAA updated its website this week with a note that play is suspended with hopes of a return in the future.

A government press conference on Nov. 10 should provide more details on the pause in inter-school activities and give context on the immediate future of organized sports in the territory.