On March 1, the Heat tested their mettle in the Championship East division of the Bugarski Cup in Richmond Hill. While the team managed to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, the day started off much more sow than silk.
Ranked seventh going into the tournament the Heat had the pleasure of playing the number one team in Ontario, the Aurora Storm Blizzard, in the first match of the day. Perhaps it was knowing this that had the team starting the day off on the wrong foot and kept them on that foot until the afternoon.
Straight after that difficult loss the team met the Barrie Elites Black. The Heat started to come back into form in the first game against Barrie but ultimately lost the game after keeping things pretty even throughout. In the second game the team fell back into the morning’s slump and the match was lost. After some inspirational words from Coach Martin the team broke for lunch counting on some caloric intake to boost their athletic output.
After the double shift off the team met the winners from Pool B, the Georgian Cubs, who would take the silver medal at the end of the day. The Heat started to play like a team and gave the Cubs a run for their money. While the match was lost the respectful effort got the team’s spirit up and put them into the proper mindset to take on their sister team Avalanche.
Any team that has played the Avalanche knows that they cannot be beaten playing a defensive game. The Heat stayed alert as the ball kept coming back over the net and kept the intensity up during both games. The match was won through a combination of strong serves, clean hits and not a little stick-to-it-iveness.
After a quick snack and some hair styling the team headed back to the gym to meet Barrie once more, marshalled forward by Coach’s lusty shouts of “Revenge!”. And revenge they had but not until the parents had gnawed their nails down to the quick.
If Barrie expected a repeat of the rout of the morning they wouldn’t have it but they may have gotten their hopes up when they won the first game after a close run to 25. The second game went back and forth and dragged out into overtime until the Heat forced the third game. In this game Coach stacked the deck with his heavy hitters who took the game fairly handily and secured us the match .
The day ended with a true team effort resulting in the Heat finishing better in the standings than going into the tournament and showing them that only their best effort as a team will allow them to succeed in Provincials.
Next stop RIM Park. “Who wants the ball??!!”