For those on hand for the Super Volley finals Tuesday night at F.H. Collins Secondary School, they were gifted quite a sports treat.
Two back-and-forth games of volleyball went to the tie-breaker fifth set to decide the winner in both the girl’s and boy’s final.
Adding to the drama, both teams that ended up winning the title came back from two sets down to take three in a row.
And it was revenge in both games, with both winners of the Dawson Invitational losing in stunning fashion.
The Porter Creek Secondary School Rams girl’s team defeated the undefeated Warriors from F.H. Collins after losing to them three times this year and in last season’s final.
The game was nail-biting from the start with teams battling for every point. Backed by their home fans, the Warriors took the first two sets 25-18 and 25-23. That’s when the Rams started to fight back.
“We always say that at the end of the set and the start of a new set the game has just started regardless of what happened,” coach Amy Dawe said following the five-set thriller. “We said dig deep and get hungry and they did.”
Thanks in part to several defensive blocks by the team’s libero Emi Teramura, the Rams broke open a lead in the third set and won 25-17.
The fourth set saw back-and-forth exciting volleyball, which got the crowd on their feet at several points, with the Rams escaping with a 25-22 win.
Already going on an hour and a half, the fifth set to 15 points was back-and-forth the entire way. Having to win by two, the game reached the 15-point threshold without a winner.
Each team had two set and match points with the crowd anxiously holding their breath.
Nerves crept in during these points forcing the game to 18-18 and the Rams were able to serve out two in a row to win the title.
“That was an emotional rollercoaster, so many emotions we went through in that set, we were getting a bit excited,” coach Kim Hickman said noting they were warned by the officials to sit down during the set.
Rams captain and graduating player Tasha-lee Schwartz was named league MVP. But this isn’t the end for either team as the quest for the Yukon Championships begins right away.
The boy’s game was no less exciting with the Rams pouring on the pressure at the end of the first two sets to come from behind on the Vanier Catholic Secondary School Crusaders to win both sets 25-23.
But on their heels, the Super Volley undefeated Crusaders would not lie down and powered to victory in the third and fourth sets.
Team captain and league MVP Daniel Kim and libero Arcel Siosan didn’t give up on a single ball with fantastic recoveries off the net several times throughout the set leading to Crusaders points.
In the fifth and final set to 15, the Crusaders kept up their power hitting led by Leo Bardubitski, who the Rams couldn’t seem to find an answer for in the deciding set.
The Crusaders won the deciding set 15-8 to win the Super Volley title after falling to the Rams in Dawson.
This rise in the Super Volley ranks also comes after a winless season in 2016 for the Crusaders.
“I think they have a lot of confidence in each other and it was time for them to push each other and they were able to do that,” Crusaders head coach Caroline Holway said about being down two sets to zero. “I leave the problem-solving to the players and then they get to be better players.”
After losing to the Rams in Dawson, Holway said they put the focus on serving and defensive play in their practices and it paid off in the final with highlight blocks and defensive digs throughout the final sets.
“I think they feel pretty good about it,” Holway said of the turnaround season for the Crusaders. “We had some unexpected players come in and they’ve really gelled as a team and everybody contributes.”