Ignite visited the Limestone City last weekend to play in the first of two 16U tournaments. Curiously, the team came into this tournament ranked second amongst a line-up predominated by other 15U teams including our sister team 15U Black. Ignite was full strength again and eager to take advantage of fielding a libero for the first time this season.
The first match saw Ignite face off against archenemy DRVC. DRVC stayed ahead in the points count in the first set until near the end when, trailing by 7 points, Ignite tied things up at 22. DRVC took the next three points and the teams switched sides to have another go at it. The second set played out very much like the first including the late game rally except, this time around, the rally didn’t let up and the match was split 1-1.
Over the break the coaching staff messed with the opposition’s minds by calling them out like they were old acquaintances (hello, your names are printed on your jerseys…?). The team warmed up to retro tunes from the start of the current decade – let that sink in – during which Kayla busted out some sick ballet moves. Or were they phat? Gnarly? No, wrong century, hmmm…
The team then returned to Court 1 to meet 16U team Kingston VC. The 16U team had more staying power in the first set taking it 25-18. In the second Ignite managed to take the upper hand until KVC rallied keeping Ignite to 21 points for the win.
Lunch was a peremptory affair during the break between matches featuring meatballs-two-ways. Alas, not boeuf bourguignon… Coaches and players sat together around a large round table and, through the contrivances of Coach Marty, put down their phones and recounted embarrassing life moments … of which Hope delightedly shared a great many.
In the next match, and in what turned out to be a pattern typical of the day, Ignite got behind on points against the other Kingston club, Pegasus, then worked steadily to make up the deficit. Ignite had just worked its way out of the red at 14 points when Pegasus came back to reclaim the lead. The serve came right back to our side and – for the second time that day – we launched a devastating service run that stopped the competition in their tracks (aside: letting the door slam shut in an opponent’s face also stops them in their tracks). Ignite dominated the second set until, in a reversal of fortunes, Pegasus unleashed a similar barrage stalling Ignite’s advance for 11 points. Ignite chipped away at the Pegasus lead until, in a final push, we took the second set 26-24 to claim third place in pool play.
We went straight into cross-over play against Peterborough Thunder 16U. Peterborough had a short bench but that didn’t prevent them from putting a lot of power on the floor. Ignite struggled against the stronger team through the middle of the first set then fought back to keep it to a close 25-22. In the second set Ignite and Peterborough played very much the same game but the hoped for third set did not materialize when Ignite’s ability to come back from behind faltered.
The quarter final match went to the eventual silver medal winner in a tournament in which Ignite performed admirably against teams in their own age group, taking three out of four sets, and put in a respectable effort against the 16U competition.
Before heading out Ignite mustered up all of their tough guy attitude for a photo op in the cafeteria, which lasted all of a second until someone started grinning and smirking and, ah well … they’re not tough guys …
… just awesome girls!