November 29th saw the girls of 14U Black in action again as they hosted twelve talented teams from the GTA at the Provincial Cup. Ever the gracious hosts, the mannerly young ladies of Durham Attack made certain throughout the day that the needs of their guests were being met. When this generosity occasionally spilled over onto the court, however, it yielded results that while not reflective of the quality of this young team, might ironically lead to greater accomplishments in the future.
Pool play saw our girl victorious yet struggling to find consistency in their wins against the PVB Patriots and DA Illusion. While the 25-11 and 25-14 sets against the Patriots were fairly decisive and our girls displayed moments of great play making, the overwhelming sense was that there was a hitch in our collective giddy-up. The one moment a rooster, the next a feather duster issues followed the girls into their game against Illusion. Despite their name these girls were as talented as they appeared as they forced the Black to fight for every point in the 25-21 first set. While the Illusion continued to be competitive in the second set, our girls managed to overcome a rough start to finish on top 25-18. This victory left the girls first in pool play as the morning drew to a close, happy they had won and eager to prove themselves in the playoffs to come.
After a lengthy downtime the girls found themselves reaching for the bug spray as they faced the Wasps in quarter final play. This match, which went to a third set, saw tremendous rallies, as well as a ball that ran an obstacle course through the rafters. Overcoming serve receive troubles in the first set, the girls stormed back with defiant blocks and explosive hits in the 25-22 second, and traded the lead in the third only to fall 12-15. This loss left the Black in the consolation game against traditional nemesis STVC Titanium, a talented team who had also struggled on this day. While our girls, somewhat dejected from the loss to the Wasps, came out a little slow in the 17-25 first set, they showed tremendous resilience in the second, serving their way back from an early five point deficit to win convincingly by a score of 25-18. The third set, like the earlier one against the Wasps, was closely contested with our ladies in Black up 14-13 in the closing moments. Unfortunately, on this day the luck was with the Titans as they miraculously came back for a 14-16 final. In this case, as in the game against Unionville, there was a feeling in the gym that the better team had lost. As an openly biased observer I can attest that this is exactly what happened.
In the rather creepy Matthew McConaughey Lincoln commercial the actor claims “sometimes you have to go back, to actually move forward.” While I’m not entirely certain of what that has to do with selling an SUV, I do know there is truth in the statement as growth is rarely linear. While the girls didn’t walk away from the weekend with a medal, the experience will no doubt in time prove to have been a necessary and valuable marker on this season’s journey.
In the end the Provincial Cup was a great day for the 14U Black family. Team and club building was evident as team supporters came together to make certain that the day was successful, including the 16U Girls Black team who supported our girls while holding their silent auction. Long after the nets had been taken down and the other teams had left, I noticed Durham Attack girls laughing and dancing in the empty gym while the caretaker swept the floor. I took this as foreshadowing.
Article written by David Farrell