In their McGregor cup outing, Durham Attack’s 13U boys Venom team showed, once again, how solid the development program of this club is. The trifecta of practice time, fitness and strength work, and mental training are bringing medal after medal to the club’s teams, and Venom is no exception. In the 13U McGregor Cup’s Premier Division, Venom went into the tournament ranked third in the province behind the two Pakmen teams.
Venom finished first in their pool on the strength of a 2-0 rout of Scorpions Stingers and a 2-1 defeat of Preds Legacy, whom they have met a few times before. Preds and Venom are a close match in terms of size and skill. The progression of skills of both teams over the past few months is very apparent, as is the fact that some of these boys are in full-on growth spurts, as evidenced by the appearance of some solid blocks where attackers previously had clear shots over the net.
In their quarter-final match, they met the Niagara Rapids Legend. Despite a number of unforced errors by both teams, Venom prevailed in straight sets, 25-21 and 25-16. That win set up a semi-final against the Mavericks Copperheads, against whom Venom had dropped only one set in previous tournaments. This time, however, the Copperheads were ready. Venom took the first set, but the Copperheads struck back, taking the next two sets 13-25 and 9-15.
Sent to the bronze medal match, Venom once again met Preds Legacy, who were without one of their top players due to an injury sustained in an earlier match. Missing that strength in their lineup, Preds proved to be no match for our boys. The offensive power of Venom’s Brett Bachman, which had been a bright light in the loss to Mavericks, continued to play a role in the team’s bronze medal win.
Venom showed great skill over the course of the day in using opponents’ blocks for their own gain, wiping balls out the side and dropping them straight down where there was no chance of recovery.
The team would like to thank team manager Mark Logan for keeping everyone up-to-date and for being one of two parents on the team who knows how to keep score. Ball tosser Jennifer Davis again did a stellar job of making the free balls hit their mark. Terence Neblett Sr. is to be commended for his confidence in making line and touch calls in his first effort with the flag.
Highlights of the day include the looks on the faces of coaches Mike and Mike as their middle hitter, whose name is withheld at the request of the unnamed strength boosting program that he seems to be following (whose results could be said to rival those of the Eastern Europeans of the 1980s), put two serves out the back that looked like they had been shot from a cannon. Despite the points they cost the team, the sheer speed and power of those balls was a sight to behold. One almost expected the balls to explode on impact.
Venom is now ranked second in the province and is looking forward to a short break for the Family Day Holiday weekend, followed by the 14U Championship Division Bugarski Cup, which could see Venom match up against the 14U Spitfires in the playoff rounds.
**Disclaimer: Not to worry, above-unnamed middle hitter’s strength boosting program does not actually exist. His extraordinary power can only be attributed to weekly T12 sessions and possibly to his frequent consumption of peanut butter and Nutella™ sandwiches.