January 26, 2019 – Markham, ON
In their first 14U OVA tournament of the new year and their first in the Championship division, Durham Attack’s 13U Venom team continued to impress, winning three sets of five in pool play, beating Sky Volley Sunshine of Windsor and dropping a close match to Pakmen Black with a 13-15 tie-breaker loss in the 14U McGregor Cup.
Finishing second in their pool, Venom moved on to play the Maverick Bandits team of Ottawa, whom they had last seen in the quarter-finals at their first 14U tournament in November, a match that Venom won in a tie-breaker. The Maverick team was looking forward to this re-match and they were not disappointed, going to a tie-breaker again. This time, Mavericks gave it everything they had, determined to avenge themselves against the younger team, and won the tie-breaker set 18-20. Their big hitters pounded a couple late in the match that our blockers couldn’t touch.
The final match of the day, a winner-take-all to see who would be relegated to Trillium, was against the Niagara Rapids Legend team that Venom had just beaten in Rochester the week before. Niagara was as hungry as the Maverick team for vindication after their loss to the younger Venom squad. The first set went point-for-point, with the normally dominant Venom servers struggling to find their groove. Venom persevered though, to eventually take it 25-22. The second set saw Venom’s Wade Stanley using the much taller Niagara team’s blocking as his personal weapon, forcing at least three attacks out of the Niagara players’ own hands. It was Stanley’s pounding serves, supported by the defensive prowess of Carter Vessio, that took the team to the finish, winning the final set 25-14. As gracious as they were in defeat, giving props to Venom’s strength and skill, Niagara Rapid Legends will have to fight their way back to the Championship division before they can hope to get their revenge on Venom.
There were a few highlights of the day. Some interesting applications of rule 9.2.2 permitted the parents and players to see a wide range of facial expressions on their normally calm and controlled coach. The team (okay, a couple of players in particular who shall remain nameless) is grateful to the kind and patient custodial staff at the venue who responded mercifully when said players accidentally set off an alarm while playing prohibited pepper between matches. Fortunately, no one was hurt and nothing was damaged.
Thanks must go to the Venom parents for fulfilling their responsibility to do the lines and scoring. The maneuvers they have perfected to ensure they get to flip the numbers rather than doing the paperwork of scoring are impressive.
The 13U Venom team is now ranked 9th in the 14U division. Well done boys!