On January 10th the girls of U13 Black travelled to our nation’s capital to compete in the Challenge Cup. By tournament’s end Chaos reigned in Ottawa and this time it had nothing to do with the Senate.
Saturday morning dawned grey and icy as the girls made their way to the tournament venue to discover that the first challenge at the Challenge Cup was the walk from the car to the gymnasium. Clearly there were no Dorothy Hamills in the group but all made it to the door on their feet. The same could not be said of all the parents.
Although Bambi-like on the ice the girls started their day sure footed on the court against the North Bay Lakers. Having lost to their older club mates at the 14U Challenge Cup in December, Chaos exacted some revenge by dominating the 13U Lakers. The North Bay girls didn’t know whether to fish or cut bait as they fell 25-6 and 25-10 to a strong Black side.
The second pool game of the morning found our girls come out slow against the Ottawa Fusion White. While somewhat inconsistent in their passing and communication, Chaos kept their composure and hit their way to a 25-18 first set win. The second set saw a return to form and fundamentals, as well as some clever tips at the net, as Fusion fell rather quickly 25-6. This ended pool play with our girls in first as they headed off for lunch and a well earned rest.
After a rather long break our girls in Black returned to the court to face Pegasus, the coolest Greek mythology based metaphorical team name we are likely to encounter unless we one day meet the Harpies. Once the whistle blew, however, there were no horse feathers about this Kingston team’s play as they came out strong against a Chaos team suffering from court rust. Toughing out a 25-20 first set win it was our girl’s turn to come out flying in the next set taking a quick 14-1 lead. Pegasus was grounded in a 25-7 Chaos win that moved our girls on to the semi-finals still undefeated.
The fourth game of the day saw the Black meet tournament hosts – the Maverick Rattlers- in a match to determine who would move on to the finals. While both sets featured good rallies between the two skilled sides it was the strong hitting and smart ball placement of Chaos that made the difference as our girls pulled out their pungis and charmed the snakes in straight sets 25-14 and 25-17. This win moved our girls on to the finals against the victor of a matchup suitable for the nation’s capital: Red vs. White.
The meeting of the Heat and the Avalanche was a source of high drama in the gym as the determined girls of White forced a third set against the highly seeded Red. With momentum on their side the underdogs exploded with excitement as they pulled off the upset victory sending them on to play for gold against our Chaotics. There ended their Cinderella story, however, as the gold medal game proved somewhat anticlimactic. Although capable in their defensive play the girls of Avalanche had difficulty containing the controlled defence and strong attack of Black. Chaos took advantage of the numerous free ball opportunities and exhibited excellent team play in the 25-3, 25-8 sets, earning them their first tournament gold.
The tournament ended with both Black and White joining together to cheer their sisters in Red on to a bronze medal finish thus securing all three medals for Durham Attack. The day culminated with all three teams sporting their hardware and posing together for their admiring fans. The Challenge Cup proved well named for our girls in Chaos. While they faced adversity and at times faltered, in the end they fought for each victory and met the challenge. This experience will undoubtedly raise their confidence, increase their cohesiveness and serve as a blueprint for future growth.
Congratulations Chaos for bringing home the gold! We are so proud of you.
Article written by Dave Farrell