The boy’s final of the Senior Volleyball Championships was played Saturday at Porter Creek Secondary School. It was a rematch of the Supervolley final as the F.H. Collins Warriors took on the Vanier Crusaders.
In the Supervolley championship game, it was the Warriors who came out on top of the best of five match 3-2. The teams needed all available sets again to decide a victor, this time it was Vanier who came out on the winning end 2-1.
Tournament MVP Rylan Stoker said the Crusaders came out looking to avenge their Supervolley loss to F.H.
“We basically decided that we weren’t satisfied with how we played the last game,” said Stoker. “So we just basically played how we usually played and had fun in the first set which really helped how we performed through the rest of the game.”
In the first, Vanier came out like they had something to prove. Their block was an impenetrable wall and they were smartly attacking the ball into space - rather than try and hit it as hard as possible.
Stoker, out of the middle, led the charge at the net as his blocking was visibly frustrating the Warriors attackers.
F.H. didn’t show the fire they had in their Supervolley win, it was all Vanier. Stoker put the first set away off a set from Tony Kim to give the Crusaders a 25-14 first set win.
Stoker stressed the importance of a strong first set.
“When we start off strong, we play better more often when we are having fun,” said Stoker as his teammates sprayed him with their water bottles. “That’s what we did the first set, it was a good time. It made us play harder, and better. And we wanted the revenge from Supervolley.”
He said the team didn’t make to many adjustments after Supervolley, but they did try and shore up their blocking, which showed in the first.
“We tightened up on our blocking lines a bit more, as our first line of defence,” said Stoker. “That’s basically it.”
The Warriors didn’t let the first set affect their play in the second, they came out punching. They got out to a 5-1 lead and pushed it to 7-1 by coming out on the winning end of rallies. This forced Vanier into a timeout.
Vanier came out of the break with some fight and got the game knotted after Zack Beaudry went on a big serving run.
The back-half of the second was back-and-forth but it was F.H. who jumped ahead by two points to go up 18-16. Vanier couldn’t recover and lost the second set 25-22.
The deciding third set made the crowd go crazy. Vanier came out flying and F.H. was having trouble passing.
Sam Wanless had a huge chest-pack to give Vanier an 8-4 lead as the teams switched sides. The Crusaders continued to roll and Quinn Howard made it 11-7 with a thunderous attack.
Undeterred, the Warriors fought back and made it 11 all. Setter Griffin Bisson found his attackers and Austin Shaw looked unstoppable scoring plenty of points from the left-side.
Vanier grabbed the momentum back using their block and didn’t relinquish another point winning the final set 15-11 to secure the championship.
In the bronze medal game, the Porter Creek Rams played the Watson Lake Secondary Bears. The Rams came out on the winning end 2-0 in an entertaining tilt.