This tournament write-up was written by team member Ashley Forgie.
Our team was fortunate to play locally in Clarington this past weekend for our second 17U OVA tournament of the season, the 17U Challenge Cup. While going into this ten team tournament ranked first, we are all experienced enough to know that the rankings, especially this early in the season, mean nothing.
The morning’s pool play had us pitted against two 17U teams we knew nothing about; Kingston Pegasus Flight, and the Ottawa Valley Vikings. Our first game against Flight was a great game with our team digging hard and focusing on smart ball placement. We managed to defeat the Flight in two straight sets, 25-21 and 25-15. The Vikings were our next opponent and while they are a relatively new club, they proved to be a tough opponent but once again we managed to come out ahead 25-11, 25-16. A first place finish in our pool enabled us to get a bye to the quarter finals.
What followed next would probably be one of the toughest challenges of our day; waiting for close to 4 ½ hours to go into our crossover match which would ultimately lead to us playing three games in a row, or 8 straight sets; a challenge for a team of any calibre.
Our quarter-final game put us up against a tough opponent. Many girls from last year’s team will remember it was the Ottawa Fusion who knocked us out on the last day of Nationals in Sherbrooke last May. Some of us were looking to avenge that loss and while it took three very gruelling sets, we succeeded. It was on to the semi-finals.
The semi finals pitted us against another Ottawa team, the 17U Maverick Twisters. The Twisters had also experienced a really long and drawn-out day but fortunately for us, their will to win was not as great as ours. We managed to take the Twisters in just two sets (25-13, 25-8) which was helpful as our final gold medal match against the DRVC 16U A, a team we had played twice before and went three sets each time, would take all of our will and every ounce of energy we had left.
We came out hard in the first set never giving up and while the scoreboard moved steadily on each side, we battled hard and won this one 27-25. The second set found us trailing most of the time but at a 17-9 deficit, we started to pull it together and even though we didn’t quite win this battle, we went out with a very dignified 25-27 loss. It was the third set where our long day and 8th straight set started to wear on us. We struggled from the beginning and never managed to pull ahead but finished with a respectable 9-15 loss (at 8:10 p.m.) and the satisfaction of knowing we qualified to move up to the next Division.
Our 16U team has already done a great job this season competing against some of the best A level teams from across the province. We are coming together as a team and each of us had amazing moments throughout the day that we should be really proud of. I look forward to continuing this amazing season with this team!
~ Ashley Forgie