Competing in the OVA requires travel all across the province. Over the weekend, our DA Boys 16U Black team travelled to Cornwall for our first official at-age (16U) tournament for the season. With two players nursing injuries, we had only 8 active players available.
In the morning, we swept past our Pool Play opponents in 2-set victories: Venom Vipers 15U (25-14, 25-10) and Kingston Pegasus (25-11, 25-10). The key theme was surgical, pinpoint serving. In both matches, our coaching staff identified and exposed some weak passers. That is, our boys served and kept serving to the same player / area over and over again. Without a decent pass, our opponents had trouble running an effective side-out offense. Often times, we would receive a free ball and we easily converted the point. As we all know, “you can’t play volleyball, if you can’t pass the ball”.
In the afternoon, we faced the host Cornwall Vikings in the quarter-finals. After a Lunch break and crossover bye, we started off the first set a bit sluggish. With the score at 11-10, we kicked our play to another level and won the match in convincing fashion (25-14, 25-9). One of the noticeable improvements was our middle attack timing. Over the past few weeks, our coaches focused on refining the timing between the setter and middle attack. It worked. With a good pass, our middle attacker would run a quick set every time. Sometimes our middle attacker would be set, and it resulted in a devastating attack. Other times, our setter would opt to use this middle attack as a decoy to draw the opposing block and then to set the ball to the outside (either left or right side). With an effective middle fake, our outside hitters would bomb crushing spikes against solo blocks (or no blocks at all). What a hitters’ dream!
The semi-final match would pit our Black team against our fellow DA 16U Red team. Although we cruised past our DA Red team in the first set (25-9), the second set was much more spirited. We jumped out to a commanding 18-10 lead, but then play was stopped by an inadvertent whistle. That is, the ref blew the whistle while the play was still live and active. No fouls or infractions. Both teams looked confused. With an apology by the ref and the re-serve, the Red team amped up their defense and started to mount a comeback. Some unforced errors whittled down the significant lead. In the end, however, our early lead held, and we won the second set (25-21).
For the finals, we faced the Ottawa Mavericks. In the first set, we sprinted out to a quick 5-0 lead and never looked back. Throughout the match, we dominated the net play with our hitting and blocking. The Mavericks were simply over-matched at the net. We won gold in a two-set match win (25-16, 25-11).
Overall, we outscored our opponents (250-125) in 10 matches throughout the day. This translates to an eye-popping 2.0 point-ratio. Consistency was the overriding theme of the day. We served tough to unsettle opposing offenses. Our blocking was solid, so that our team defense could be established around the perimeter. Passing was good, as it allowed our setter a full array of hitting options. Offensively, our hitters were blasting spikes from the middle, right side, left side and back-court pipe / C-balls. All in all, the tournament was a quite a success. Let’s keep building upon this momentum.
Go Attack Go!!