18U Challenge Cup – January 10, 2015
Counting the Provincials and Nationals, after this past weekend’s tournament, the boys are a 1/3rd of the way through this season’s scheduled slate of tournaments. Time flies when you’re having fun!
The boys had a nice, easy start on a rather cold and blustery winter’s day for the Challenge Cup. Their 1st game looked to be a good warmup for the day’s competition, but after a decent demonstration of determined play and upbeat drive to win the 1st set 25-15, they lost a surprisingly close 2nd set 26-28 when they appeared to experience an energy letdown. This lack of energy continued into the tiebreaker, until a slight resurgence during the last couple of points. The end result; not quite enough of a push for the win.
Able to recharge their batteries during an hour’s break, the 2nd game was a totally different story. Playing with a lot more heart, being loud and celebratory throughout, they took both sets 25-16. This is usually the outcome when they play the way they can, with desire and enthusiasm.
Their 3rd game was one of those where even as the boys were playing hard, with many flashes of excellence, there were also just enough misplays to place them on the disappointed end of two very close sets.
Their last game of the day, with a victory being awarded 5th place and a stay in Premier, while a loss would mean dropping down a division, became yet another nailbiter for the fans. Frustration set in early for Durham Attack, not only with their level of play, but also the degrading quality of the floor surface due to a condensation build up. The team let it get to them, they lost their focus and were defeated 13-25. But once again, they came back in the 2nd set, matching their opponents point for point with solid blocking, well placed hits off accurate sets, and more effective serves than bad ones. It was noticeably a concerted team effort right to the final block, which gave DA a 25-22 win.
The tiebreaker was a mix of skill and a little luck, but mostly a reawakened, focused determination. From the start, Durham Attack put on an excellent display of their abilities, with diving digs, good sets and well placed returns to take an early lead. Despite an inevitable misplay or two, and the continuing floor issues, they held the lead with an impenetrable blocking wall, a run of good serves and total participation from each teammate, both on and off the court. Durham finished the day with a 15-11 victory and a continued presence in the Premier Division.
The next two tournaments for our 18U boys are south of the border, first at the Rochester, NY Can-Am Tournament and then, at the end of the month, travelling to Daytona Beach. Putting all aspects of their game together as they eventually did this weekend, should make for some interesting, and exciting times in the next couple of weeks.