Call me Ishmael. On Sunday, March 23, at the 14U Markham Stingers Invitational, I witnessed the little Ahabs of the Durham Attack team Chaos board ship to chase their elusive Moby Dick in STVC Titanium. While their harpoon went awry, the girls of Black had a successful outing and may have discovered a new nemesis while on the voyage.
Our girls began their day in typical fashion as they shook off the cobwebs in early action against the Unionville Stingers. Down 0-9 before they had a chance to say good morning, the girls overcame their initially shaky play to pull out a 25-21 victory, followed by a second set 25-11 rout. As all aspects of their game seemed to be ship-shape and Bristol fashion at this point it was an opportune time to face the chief antagonists of their storied season thus far, STVC Titanium.
Titanium, while a good volleyball team, has become infamous since the fall both for their ability to collect undeserved wins and for their insufferable pre-match chants. As was the case in their last meeting, Sunday’s game again saw Chaos take significant leads and play beyond the level of their adversary, only to prove unsuccessful in the end. Plagued only by difficulty with serve receive, Chaos will undoubtedly conquer this concern before the final meeting of these two teams and prove the proverb: “She who laughs last laughs best.”
Pool play ended in the late afternoon with a match against a game opponent in Toronto West. Although the Toronto girls put up a good fight and Chaos suffered from occasional bouts of miscommunication, victory was never really in jeopardy as our team led throughout the 25-18 and 25-20 sets. This win put Chaos in second place in their pool and on a collision course with the Stinger’s Gold team.
The match against Stingers Gold seemed to follow the narrative of the earlier match with Titanium as our girls played well save for continued struggles with the containment of particularly hellacious serving. This was the cause of their 24-26 loss of a first set they otherwise dominated. The dropped set while heart breaking turned out to be beneficial as it awoke a resolve in the Chaos girls that allowed them to rally in the second set for a 25-22 win followed by a 15-12 third set. This victory, which moved Attack into the semi-finals, again indicated the great heart and resilience of our team and more importantly showed them that there is no serve that cannot be broken.
The confidence gained by Chaos in the quarter-finals seemed temporarily abandoned in their disastrous first set against a team who entered the game undefeated in play on this day: the Burlington Hurricane. Troubled by the Hurricanes’ strong serving our girls managed to make a game of it, but on their heels from the start went down rather quickly 13-25. The second set was a different matter, however, as the Chaotics settled down and focused on moving their feet and presenting a solid platform for the first pass. Never trailing, the girls methodically chipped away at the Hurricanes’ defence to pull out an impressive 25-22. The third and final set could have gone to either team as both played well. In the end, a few long Attack passes off the serve gave the Hurricanes the advantage and the 15-9 victory. Although unsuccessful, Chaos showed tremendous skill and will to win against the skilled Burlington team and no doubt have added to their list another white whale to hunt at the Provincials.
The girls of Durham Attack Black ended the 14U Markham Stingers’ Invitational tied for third place. While their white whale was not vanquished, neither was our hunters dragged down to a watery grave like Melville’s captain. Even in defeat they were successful as they adapted to difficult conditions and learned from their struggles. They seem now a team that is only a quick step away from victory. Both will and flesh seem strong. Hard work in training will now determine their fate when next they face their foes. I, for one, am betting on Black.
Article written by Dave Farrell