I have challenged myself to keep the word count to under a thousand in this article. In fact, if I were to use just one then perhaps it would have to be this:
“But that’s not a word”, you might say, yet given the deadly accuracy of a certain player’s arm today, and particularly during the semi-final match, Mr. Webster would do well to coin one. I also propose “kay-launch”, “stephanize” and “klass action”.
Ranked second in this tournament held at Queen’s University, our last tournament of the regular season, we won our pool beating Evolution and … Eovolution? … well, Airforce, a 16U team from a newer club in Eastern Ontario. Because, you know, that’s a place.
Trouble began during this round when an Evolution player chased a ball over their bench resulting in another player on their team, and schoolmate of several of our players, receiving some serious injuries.
But the win earned us the right to trek across campus from the palatial, shimmering ARC facility to the Bews Gym, a building so laden with heavy, honey pine-stained battens and rows of iron girders that one couldn’t help but imagine long-haired, bell-bottomed students roaming the corridors.
Here we faced off against our sometime nemesis, DRVC, and … drum roll, please … beat them in two sets. Tick that box. Put away the nets. Hang up your jerseys. That concludes this season’s play. Nice work, ladies. See you next year.
Ok, not quite. That effort got us into the semi-finals where there would be more jubilation though without Brianna’s input who, blocking a strong DRVC hit point blank, dislocated a thumb. Ouch. Ick. Seriously, creeped out here. A smashed knee on another court and near misses with walls and bleachers made this one of the most punishing tournaments of the season.
Back in the ARC for the silver medal match – let’s call it that – Ignite met the KVC 16U team for the second time this year. Ignite was in fine form serving strongly, digging and passing well and executing some smart plays to take the first set. KVC battled back for the second. For a moment it seemed like KVC had found their groove and would use the momentum to send the 15U team home in the third set but Ignite played an exhilarating game to seize the victory.
Things soured for us in the gold medal match against the first ranked team, Maverick Gamblers, who delivered hard jump serves and clean hits and made scant few errors. The opponent’s fast growing lead, our difficulty in mounting any offence and – I suspect – the team’s sense that they were climbing a mountain too high combined to stunt our efforts in this final match.
But overall it wasn’t a bad way to conclude our regular season play, chalking up a second silver medal, and that in a 16U tournament! Ignite did exhibit some of the exciting play that we saw in the last tournament; a strong foundation to build upon as the team continues to develop in the weeks leading up to Provincials.
Short and sweet. Ish.