Going into 17U Provincial Championships on April 1/16 in Division 1 seeded 19th, the DA 16U Black girls were feeling pretty good. They were so pumped when they arrived at RIM Park to get a sneak peek at the OVA All Star posters –showing team captain and super jumper and “kaboomer” KateVanCamp as one of the 16U Girls All Stars! Way to go Kate!!
Their excitement was dampened a bit as the girls heard news that their captain was ill and would not be able to play for the weekend. Knowing they were up against their toughest 16U rivals and some extremely strong 17U teams, DA steeled themselves to try their hardest without one of their biggest assets on the court.
Fortunately, Day 1 was a great team-gelling and confidence building day. DA comfortably won all three games on Friday all in two sets against their older competitors. In game 1 vs. Galaxy Eclipse, DA started with a strong lead, pulling ahead at one point 14-6, and despite some sneaky tips from Eclipse, DA won handily (25-16, 25-17). Game 2 vs. Etobicoke Titans Oceanus was slightly more challenging, with DA falling behind in the 2nd set 12-8, but fought back and on a serving run pulled ahead to 18-15, finally taking the game 25-15, 25-18. In game 3 vs. Vision DA played strong and fought for every tough ball, winning 25-15, 25-13, securing their position as the winners of their pool for Day 1.
The first game of Day 2 was vs. a very strong Maverick Gold Rush. It was a tough start in the first set, with DA falling behind 11-3, but on a great serving run DA pulled back to 12-10, and fought to tie it up 18-18 and even pulled ahead 19-18…then battled back and forth in a thrilling fight 19-19, 20-19, 20-20, 21-20, 21-21., and it looked like the win was in their hands as they pulled ahead 24-22… !! But… Maverick would not yield and squeaked out the win 26-24. What a great fight! Unfortunately, the 2nd set was an even tougher start with DA unable to get a point on the board until the score was 16-1 for Mavericks – nothing was going right! DA managed to compose themselves and came back a long way, but it was too far to make up, and Maverick won the 2nd set 25-16. A very tough game but the girls proved they could find their composure and fight back hard after crumbling a bit.
Game 2 vs. MVC 17U was a much better game, with some long, well-played rallies – and some drama! Set 1 was close, with DA winning 25-22, and in the 2nd set, the MVC coach lost their temper on a call they disagreed with, and got a red card, which meant DA got a free point at a critical point at 21 and took advantage of the momentum to win 25-22!
Game 3 on Day 2 was vs. Dynamo Corinthians. DA was so close to a strong win after taking the first set 25-23, but could not hang on for the 2nd set, losing 16-25, and Dynamo forged ahead in the 3rd to win 15-9, taking the game.
Winning 1 out of the 3 games on Day 2 positioned the girls in a nice later start on Day 3 at 11:30am, but DA had to face the very strong Defensa (who went into the tournament seeded 5th) in the Tier 2 Quarter Final. Defensa was on a mission, dominating DA 25-10, 25-8 – and would go on to win the Tier 2 Gold Medal.
DA had to go home too soon on Day 3, but in the big picture, had a respectable 5th place finish in Division 1 Tier 2 of the very tough 17U division provincials. A challenging weekend but great experience to prepare for 16U Provincials on April 22nd! Thanks to Coaches Mel Allin and Chris Williamson for a great weekend including some fun team building, and Coach Mike May for his help getting the team prepared! Good luck at 16U Provincials!!