• Girls 14U Black Win Gold at Nationals!

    I seem to recall taking a plane to Calgary but, looking back on it all, I’m pretty sure now it was actually a roller coaster.  It all started, of course, with the long, clattering climb of tryouts to the first thrill of being selected for the Black team.  A few players hopped aboard mid-climb, mind you, and while that’s normally frowned upon aren’t we glad they did!

    The unabashed fun of Madawaska was followed by a fair showing at our first tournament – and first 15U tournament – then the ride took us crashing down to a calamitous finish in our first 14U tournament.  We then climbed our way up the podium with a Bronze at 15U, a Gold at 14U and another Gold at 15U.  Thanks Stouffville!

    We then entered the corkscrew of Championship level play coming out of the 14U tournament feeling a little green but happy to come out the other side with a respectable showing at 15U.  After that was a somewhat thrill-less climb to Gold in our final 14U tournament, a little bit of down time, and then we hit the loop to loop of Provincials.

    Nov. 8 15U Trillium Newmarket 4th
    Nov. 29 14U Trillium Oshawa 7th
    Dec. 6 15U Trillium Stouffville Bronze
    Jan. 17 14U Trillium Stouffville Gold
    Jan. 31 15U Trillium Stouffville Gold
    Feb. 21 14U Championship Cobourg 7th
    Feb. 28 15U Championship Stouffville 5th
    Mar. 28 14U Trillium Oshawa Gold
    Apr. 3, 4, 5 15U Provincials Div. 1 Tier 2 RIM Park 9th
    Apr. 24, 25, 26 14U Provincials Div. 1 Tier 2 RIM Park 9th

    But a funny thing happened on the way to the BMO Centre.  And not just one thing but a lot of little things.  A lot of little magical things because … wasn’t Calgary magical?

    Meeting friends at the airport.  Checking into your room at the fabulous Hyatt Regency.  Ordering the complimentary convenience items.

    Blaine and Patrick.

    Sharing a little pub food on the patio on Stephen Avenue.  The team tucked around a giant round table at Earl’s waving a forest of little, white individual bills.  Taking over the second floor lounge.  Euchre to the wee hours.  The rotating door to Kiana and Steph’s room.  Security at the door to Kiana and Steph’s room.  “Security!”  Coffee and a treat in the DA cubby in the lounge.  The pool and the steam room.

    The sparkling CORE shopping centre with its very own forest wonderland.  The Culinary College.  The dude cleaning the domed, glass ceiling – come on!  Meeting Olympic athletes.  Magpies.  The giant, mesh head.

    Marching the team over storm drains and under train tracks to the BMO Centre.  Making the trek in sun, rain and snow.  Walking into Hall E for the first time.  Another … Canuck … Sports … bag.  Owning the end of the hall.  Athlete’s bracelets.  Donning the black for the first matches.  Hanging each court with the Durham Attack Black colours.  The ringside chairs that were ganged together into an impenetrable barrier.  Down officials?  Officials from all over Canada, the States … and Hawaii???  Giving out pins every match … and getting one back.  Shaking hands BEFORE the match.  Huh?  Lining up on the sideline after timeouts.  That neon pink team.

    Nana and Gabby.

    Slogging to the other end of the venue to the cafeteria between matches.  Shopping for Nationals swag.  Slogging all the way back.  The Sunterra marché, the food trucks, wait … what food trucks?  5 Vines.  Village Ice Cream.  Starbucks, Starbucks, Starbucks.

    Winning every set in pool play.  Playing nothing but Alberta teams in re-pool and taking them all.

    Getting together with old friends and family at court-side.  Dancing in the water park.  Celebrating Nana’s 70th birthday with donuts.  “Donuts as sweet as Steph and Kiana!”

    Cruising through the first match of playoffs.  The nail-biter of a first set in the semi-finals.  Breaking open the lead in the second set and taking a decisive win.  The electric thrill of going into the Gold Medal Match.  Winning the first set by four.  Not even THINKING what that might mean.  The relentless battle for the last points in the second set.  Some strategic, coaching wizardry and then – OMG! – that ball just went under the net!

    Leaping in the air.  Screaming with joy.  Crashing together in hysterical embraces.  Collapsing to the floor in relief and amazement.  Sing olé, olé, Attack!  Jump, Carol, jump!

    May 14, Day One Pool Play, Division 2, Tier 1
    Kodiaks Red, Prince George, B.C. 25-15, 25-18
    Canada West Black, Calgary, Alberta 25-13, 25-11
    High Altitude, Chilliwack, Alberta 25-15, 25-23
    May 15, Day Two Re-Pool
    Velocity, Grand Prairie, Alberta 25-20, 25-8
    Brooks Elite, Brooks, Alberta 25-11, 16-25, 15-11
    Revolution, Peace River, Alberta 25-17, 25-21
    May 16, Day Three Playoffs, Division 2, Tier 1
    Prairie Fire Heat, Portage La Prairie, Manitoba (the pumpkin team) 25-10, 25-17
    Rapids A2, Niagara Falls, Ontario (Bronze) 26-24, 25-19
    LVC Fire Intensity, London, Ontario (Silver) 25-21, 25-23

    Hats off to Joel, Steph and Kiana for turning eleven volleyball players into a team.  Hats off to Alexandra, Amy, Charlotte, Demiah, Jaimie, Jayda, Kate, Madison, Rebecca, Sara and Shay for winning the battle of Canada.  Wear those golden belt buckles with pride!

    Thanks for a fantastic season full of spectacular memories!  Thanks for the tumultuous ride.  Thanks for the magic!

    Article written by Chris Bryant

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