February 22nd saw the girls of 13U Chaos hobble into Oshawa, this time to face 14U competition at the Hawkins Cup. While I’m quite certain the tournament is not held in honour of Rompin’ Ronnie Hawkins, the Hawk would have appreciated the attempts to rock and roll as the girls of Durham Attack rocked their opponents and rolled their ankles in an attempt to get their first taste of 14U hardware.
The day began with a quick tilt against a team from Toronto called the Diamonds. Perhaps named after the popular Canadian doo wop group “The Diamonds”, this team failed to share a rather desirable accomplishment with their musical namesake: a hit. While Chaos should be commended for their consistent serving, the story of both sets was the numerous unforced errors made by the Diamonds as they fell in straight sets, 25-1 and 25-9.
In a study in contrasts our girls in black next faced the highly seeded DRVC. Chaos came out strong in the first set taking a 6-0 lead. They continued to hold the lead through most of the set thanks to sound serve receive and serving, but the Durham girl’s height at the net and their well-placed tips eventually turned the tide in DRVC’s favour for a first set 21-25 Chaos loss. The second set saw both teams struggle in the early stages at the serving line. Neither team dominated as they worked the score to an 8-8 tie. It was at this point that Chaos’ focus seemed to lapse as DRVC took advantage of our troubled serve reception to run away with the set for a 14-25 conclusion. This ended pool play with our girls in second place going into the playoffs.
Quarter final play commenced after lunch with Chaos facing 13U side the Leaside Lightning. In this initial meeting of the two teams Chaos came out to their traditionally slow post-lunch start. Plagued by defensive woes and poor communication our girls soon found themselves trailing 7-15 to the small but defensively sound Lightning, who moved around the court like the greased variety. Possessing heroic will and great intestinal fortitude, however, the ladies of Durham Attack Black soon recovered from their shock and clawed their way slowly out of deficit to even the score at 24, and then pull out the victory in a 26-24 first set. The second set was no less exciting as the two teams again showed great determination and taxed their resources as they scrambled to score. Again nails were bitten to the quick as Chaos toughed out a 25-23 win moving them on to the semi-finals.
Despite having survived the ice storm before Christmas our girls seemed unprepared to weather the Storm out of Aurora in their semi-final match. Our serve receive and general defense were in chaos as we tried desperately to contend with the Aurora attack. The 10-25 and 13-25 sets were indicative of our play as we raged in vain against the storm like Lear on the heath.
The bronze medal game offered hope for redemption as Chaos met the Northumberland Breakers, a team they had beaten twice at a previous tournament. Confident, the girls came out strong winning the early rallies to build a 17-8 lead and seemed well on their way to a first set victory when cruel fate intervened. A seemingly ordinary Cobourg girl stepped up to the service line and unleashed an unholy barrage that we inexplicably could not contain. When we finally wrested the ball from her hands the score favoured the Breakers 17-20, and despite drawing even at 23 and 24, the Blacks disappointingly fell 24-26. The second set saw Chaos hold the lead throughout the game only to relinquish it again owing to serve receive troubles. The girls felt like American hockey players as they finished out of the medals in a 22-25 loss.
Especially considering their collective injuries, the girls of Chaos should be proud of their efforts at the Hawkins Cup. Their dramatic victory against Leaside in the quarter finals clearly displayed the team’s tremendous heart and desire to win. Their defeats, however, described the limitations of individual skill and heart in reminding all that volleyball is a team sport. Given the talent and competitive spirit of our Chaos team there is no doubt that our girls will work hard together to improve their game. While they didn’t improve their standing, the Hawkins Cup may have ignited something within Durham Attack Black and gifted them with a motivation that all successful teams require: something to prove.
Article written by Dave Farrell