Daytona Beach tournament
January 31st – February 1st, 2015
It was another weekend of strong competitive challenges, as the 18U boys travelled to Daytona Beach, Florida for another crack at one of the remaining bids for the American Nationals. This tournament, which found our boys the only Canadian team in a field of 20, was set up in a different fashion than the norm, with four pool games on the Saturday and then right into the quarter finals Sunday morning with no cross-over.
Apparently their normal course of action, the team started their first game Saturday struggling to get their composure, rhythm and mental state in sync. Fortunately, their opponents also appeared to be suffering from the morning duhs. After watching give-away after give-away, a timeout was called and the lads got a few choice words from the coach. This appeared to wake them up. They broke out of their slump, started putting plays together and went on to win the set 25-16. The 2nd set saw fewer errors, more focus and a noticeable increase in energy, resulting in a 25-12 victory.
This is how the day progressed. Against a very spirited and strong opponent, the next game saw our guys raising their level of play, getting more blocks, hitting harder and improving their serve ratio. While still not playing to their full capacity, they took this game in two sets as well, 25-18 and 25-20.
The 3rd game was something of a breather for Durham, as the Tampa Bay Raptors did not live up to their namesake. DA won two easy sets, 25-11 and 25-12.
The final pool game was against a club from Miami, which included plenty of fan support. The previous game had not been good for our guys as they had relaxed a little too much and so found the early going in this match more of a challenge than it should have been. But after coming out on the positive side of a couple of excellent rallies, Durham Attack settled down, got hot, and while not exactly cruising to the win, held off a late press from Miami and took the set 25-21. The last set of the day was very action packed as both teams played hard and fast. But once again, summoning up reserves in energy and having all aspects of their game working, Durham Attack finished the day with a 25-15 route. When fired up, our boys play hard, determined ball and are a joy to watch.
Day two started just the way most of their early morning starts do. While the boys weren’t playing badly, their timing was off ever so slightly, giving team Vanguard, from Columbus, Ohio an edge which they quickly capitalized upon. Vanguard is a very hard hitting team and they made every shot count. DA’s blocking and digs were there, but the bounces more often than not went against us. Vanguard took the 1st set 18-25. The 2nd set was a game of catchup from the beginning, with our guys trying to do the catching up. Unfortunately, other than an impressive late set surge, DA just couldn’t string together the points necessary and were defeated 21-25, thereby knocking them out of the medal round. Vanguard went on to win gold.
Durham Attack’s final match was a rematch with the Miami team they had played Saturday. Miami had upped their game and we were treated to a very spirited, competitive match. Both sides showed plenty of fire, making second, and sometimes third extrordinary efforts on all points. Hard hitting and some extended rallies made this an exciting set, which Durham won 25-22. The 2nd set was another nailbiter as the score stayed close through the first half. Eventually, our boys started gathering momentum, acing serves, blocking big and slamming hard through Miami’s blocks. Winning this set 25-21, Durham Attack finished this tournament ranked 5th, with a total sets win/loss record of 10 & 2. A good strong showing by the Canucks, with time left over for a little sun and surf before returning to the great white north.