On Saturday of Easter Weekend the cottontails of Chaos hopped down the bunny trail to the 13U Markham Stinger Invitational hoping to avoid the snares along the way. In what was to be a challenging tune up for the Provincials, the girls played against some of the best teams in Ontario and learned some valuable lessons on the road to Waterloo.
The morning got off to a positive start with a victory over the London based Forest City club. In the tightly contested first set Chaos fought inconsistent play to regain their form and the lead for the 25-21 win. The 25-12 second set saw a continuation of the stronger passing and hitting as Chaos controlled the pace of the match giving the London girls few easy balls to play. Although successful, the early play of the Black indicated that they were in the midst of an adjustment back to 13U three-ball play as the girls regained confidence hitting and passing out of all positions. This adjustment process was to loom large in the matches to come.
The second game of the day had Chaos seeking redemption in a return match against the Barrie Elite Black. The first set started encouragingly enough as our girls took a convincing 22-9 lead. Good play, however, disintegrated into hard scramble as difficulty in passing and finishing saw Chaos riding out the storm in a 25-21 win. Trouble followed the girls into the second set as their struggle with setting led to Barrie fielding an inordinate number of free balls, and despite an impressive fight from behind the Chaotics fell 23-25. That brave push in the dying moments of the set, however, proved enough to secure the win for Chaos and left them still undefeated.
The final match of pool play found Chaos playing well against the highly ranked Etobicoke Titans. However, despite controlled passing and strong hits the girls in Black couldn’t seem to penetrate the Titan’s impressive defense and fell 25-15 in the first set. In contrast, the second set saw Chaos prove as Zeus and his brothers had, that even Titans can fall. With their star player on the bench Etobicoke quickly realized that the true strength of Chaos is in their depth as they struggled to contain the Black Attack. The 25-18 win was good for second place in the pool for Chaos as the girls headed into the playoff rounds.
The semi-final game again saw Chaos seeking retribution for a past three set loss. The Markham Stingers, ranked fourth in the province, represented what will stand between the girls and a medal at the OVA Championship and Chaos was determined to show their quality. This determination was in full display in the first set as our ladies in black, through well executed passing and defense, fended off a surging Stingers team to win 25-23. The second set, however, saw miscommunication and finishing issues lead to a 3-12 Markham lead before Chaos could fight back to tie the score at 22 and then 24 before finally falling 24-26. This loss of momentum was a contributing factor in the disappointing third set that ended 10-15 in favor of the Stingers and ended the Attack’s run to the gold.
The day culminated in a fight for third with club sisters Heat in a hard fought match that went the distance. In a celebration of Durham volleyball the girls of both teams put on an impressive display of skill and camaraderie. Although the quality of play varied widely throughout the sets, the intensity and will to win that produced the dramatic 15-12 conclusion impressed all in attendance.
Now all that remains is the Provincial tournament. The team that formed in the fall and became Chaos has one week remaining to sharpen skill and hone their focus before they are put to the test in Waterloo. A medal is their goal and would be a deserving harvest for their hard labors. In the humble opinion of this tremendously biased reporter, they are the finest U13 Girl’s Volleyball team in Ontario, and at the OVAs this weekend I’m betting on Black.
Article written by Dave Farrell