Thornhill, January 13, 2019 – Based on their early successes in fall tournaments, Durham Attack’s boys’ 13U Venom went into their first tournament of the new year ranked third in the province in the Premier division. Having struggled in their final tournament of 2018, a 14U Premier competition, the boys were anxious to get back on the court and show what they could do. Their first match in pool play was against Pakmen Black, where Venom took some time to find their groove, losing both sets. They dropped their third straight set against Maverick Copperheads, but then bounced back to take the next three in a row, ultimately splitting against the Copperheads and defeating Predators Legacy.
Tied for second in their pool with three wins and three losses, they were relegated to third place based on points. That set up a quarter-final match against Oakville Thunder, whom they defeated in two sets, 25-19 and 25-23. For the first time that day, Venom showed the energy and teamwork that has made them so successful. They started to communicate, they were moving their feet, and they seemed determined to stop balls from dropping on their side of the court.
In the semi-final rematch against Pakmen Black, Venom was hoping to redeem their earlier pool play loss. They lost the first set but seemed poised to make a comeback in the second, with the hope of forcing a tie-breaker. They rallied several times but ultimately lost due to several unforced errors over the final few points.
Moving on to the bronze medal match, the Maverick Copperheads—perhaps thinking about the long drive home to Ottawa that awaited them late on Sunday evening—seemed like a different team than they had earlier in the morning. Venom easily won the first set 25-9 and took the second 25-12, securing the bronze medal. Pakmen Black ultimately took home the tournament gold, defeating Pakmen Gold in three sets.
Venom players Zachary Parks and Timothy Logan are to be commended for their consistent and smart play, both offensively and defensively, which helped keep Venom going. The team is again grateful to team parent Jennifer Davis for her excellent ball-tossing skills and to all the parents who pitched in to cover the lines and scoring duties.
Spectators were heard to comment throughout the tournament on the powerful Venom serves. Developing consistency in serving is one of the challenges of the triple ball format, so the team is no doubt looking forward to the traditional play of their next tournament, the Can-Am in Rochester.
On a final note, it wasn’t only the Venom serves that showed great power. Venom player Carter Vessio, in an effort that surprised coaches and parents alike, demonstrated hitherto unknown vocal depth and power, leading the team through their call-and-response cheers at the beginning of each set.
Attack, Attack, Attack! – Oy, oy, oy!
Attack, Attack, Attack! – Oy, oy, oy
Attack! – Oy!
Attack! – Oy!