Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by John Tonin

LOOKING FOR THE CORNERS – Porter Creek Rams attacker Payton Mountain, left, hits it over the block of Vanier Crusaders players Alyssa Cuenza, 14, and Nicole Farkas during Supervolley semifinal action Thursday at Porter Creek.

Rams earn finals match against F.H.

The Porter Creek Rams used their oh-so steady defence to defeat the Vanier Crusaders 3-1 in Supervolley semifinal action at Porter Creek on Thursday.

By John Tonin on November 8, 2019

The Porter Creek Rams used their oh-so steady defence to defeat the Vanier Crusaders 3-1 in Supervolley semifinal action at Porter Creek on Thursday.

Tayla McNally, the Porter Creek head coach, said team defence has been the focal point of their training this season.

“We work on it mostly because our offence isn’t the strongest,” said McNally. “Going against the other teams they have some pretty good offensive players so defence is where we need to improve on to get the wins.”

The Rams were the winning Supervolley team last year, but as is the case with high school sports they lost many of their starters to graduation.

“The girls are really fighting hard,” said McNally. “We started pretty much at the bottom now we are climbing our way up to the top and I’ve heard other teams are intimidated by ours (defence) so it’s a good feeling.”

It wasn’t a start Porter Creek would have been happy to get off with. The Crusaders jumped out to an early 7-2 lead in the first set thanks to strong serving.

If Vanier wasn’t wracking up the aces the Rams were unable to get clean serve receptions and the Crusaders capitalized on the free-balls. Nicole Farkas had big kills from the middle, Jenny Lai served difficult and Allison Brown put the game away for Vanier who won the first 25-16.

It looked like Vanier was going to continue rolling in the second set. Lai’s serving continued to be a problem for the Rams. On offence, Vanier was getting good attacks from all positions.

For the Rams, their defence was picking up but they just couldn’t come out on the winning end of rallies. The tide started to change late in the frame and Porter Creek took the lead and won the second 26-24.

It was another nail-biter in the third as both teams found their rhythm and really started cooking. Farkas and Brown were able to find the holes in the Rams defence to score some important points.

Payton Mountain from the serving line earned Porter Creek plenty of points and Olivia Blisner had some deceptive tips. Angel McCallum finished the set with an attack out of the middle after the Rams libero made a wonderful dig.

Fighting for their season, the Crusaders came out strong in the fourth. They built an early advantage but it was to be short-lived.

The Rams defence was suffocating, nothing hit their floor. On offence they were opportunistic, or, they just kept sending the ball back over and waited for the Crusaders to make an error.

Using this strategy, the Rams built an 18-9 lead and carried that momentum through to the end to win the final set 25-17.

Porter Creek won’t get to celebrate their win for too long. The Supervolley championships will be played Friday night, and waiting for them is the undefeated F.H. Collins Warriors.

“They know that F.H. is the team to beat,” said McNally.

On Halloween, the Rams took the Warriors to five sets. McNally said the team is going into the final with some confidence.

“Volleyball is a sport where it is a day-by-day basis,” said McNally. “We haven’t made too many changes, they know where they need to be and how they (F.H.) hit now so we hope to come out with a win. We’ll see.”

Against F.H., McNally said the team will have to be smart with where they place the ball on offence.

“Instead of putting it to the middle, let’s put it to the corners or the setter,” said McNally.

The Crusaders player of the game was libero Amelia Stewart who was strong on serve receive and defence on the evening allowing the Crusaders to run their offence.

The girls’ Supervolley final will be played Friday at 5 p.m. at Porter Creek Secondary School.

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