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Club News Story

Set back for our Ambush

2016 / 01 / 19

What a weekend to be traveling up north. We had all planned to be in Sudbury early to avoid the projected snowstorm and make an 8PM training session at Cambrian College to get rid of the 6-hour travel legs. Although we avoided the snow on the drive up we where right in it when we arrived in Sudbury …25CM worth of the fluffy and blowing stuff. We all made it to the training session and had a spirited and up-tempo one-hour session with many thanks to our host Mike Margarit of the Northern Chill.

Being the 6th seed at the tournament we were scheduled to play the second and third match of pool play so for a traditionally slow starting team that would prove to be a challenge. As well we were in the same pool as Leaside Lightning (Top seed) and Aurora Storm 14U (7th seed). We opened up the tournament with a straight set loss to the defending 13U Provincial Champion Storm. This team is not to be taken lightly because of their age. They have skill and size and dominate at their own age group and like most OVA age groups top end younger teams usually compete very well at the age group up. Did I mention that this team is impressive and skilled well beyond their year of birth. We lost to the Storm in two by identical scores of 18-25 and 18-25 with the younger team firmly in control is both sets with their tough serving. We at times put them under pressure with our serving however the pressure was never sustained and we had too many unforced errors to be competitive.

The second match had us playing Leaside and like the last time we played them we fought hard in the first set, down for most of it we were able to fight back and lose by the tightest of scores 26-28. Similar to the first time we played them we proceeded to lose control of the second set even though their line up did not change and lost 13-25.

Those two loses would once again prove to be costly as we had to change gym locations and play the number two seed Titans who have already beaten us twice this season; once in the semi-final of the first tournament and again in the quarter final of the second tournament. We came out fighting in the first set largely on a line-up change of moving one athlete into the middle from left side. This changed allowed us to present a more challenging block to left side attackers along with our big right side presence. We had some critical blocks but in the end we lost the lead after the crucial 20th point and lost the set 22-25. The second set was the same as the first with both teams exchanging point for point.

The Titans left sides were able to squeeze a few more balls through the block and scored a second set win by the score of 22-25. Disappointing? Absolutely, but on the bright side we were getting better and competed much better than we did the very first time we played the Titans at the beginning of the season. This is undoubtedly not the last time our two teams will play a meaningful match. [The Titans went on to defeat Leaside for the gold, which means this is the second tournament in a row that we lost to the gold and silver medalist].

That loss set us up to play the do or die match, winner plays for 5th and loser finishes 9th. The match was against the host Northern Chill who had just been promoted from the Championship Tier. We won in straight sets 25-17 and 25-9.

We had to win another match to guarantee ourselves of staying in Premier but we had to face the 14U Storm to do it. They had just lost a disappointing quarterfinal and were on a mission to win. The first set started with us behind 1-7 and we clawed our way back to make the score respectable at 18-25. We had hoped that we gained momentum from the second part of the first set but proceeded to spot the Storm another 1-6 lead in the second set. This time we were able to claw ourselves back to a set win by the score of 25-19. That win set up the deciding third set where we were never in the lead nor did we have momentum as this young team put on a serving clinic that had us under some extreme pressure. We pride ourselves on being a tough serving team but this team was a notch above us in that area. We lost the third set 8-15 and the loss relegated us to Championship.

A definite setback to our plans but we will bounce back for the Provincial Championships. We know we can and have competed with the top 3 teams in Premier East. The time away will help us to regroup and work on our weaknesses to prepare for April.

“ There are only two options regarding commitment; you're either in or you're out. There's no such thing as life in-between.  ”
– Pat Riley
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