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Club News Story
 

Weekend # 4

2015 / 12 / 06

In Kingston we find the defending 13u provincial champions begin their defense of a Title. Coach Paul Gratton and his new look Bandits were at the PAC @Queen’s University and they were ready for the big leagues in the big house. The first tournament of the season at the 14u level are all at the Trillium level. So a quick promotion to the next level is key in garnering points for the Ontario Championships. The Bandits got off to a fast start taking care of their pool competition with decisive wins over the newly formed KVC and the Venom Vipers of Markham. This put them squarely in the drivers seat going into the playoffs.

Meanwhile their brother team the Renegades and coach Sylvain Ducharme were busy taking care of business on their own. Wins over host Pegasus and the Leaside 13u boys meant they would be on the opposite side of the playoff draw and could not meet the Bandits until a medal contest.  But first they would have to get by our cross town rival the Ottawa Fusion team. This match proved to be a tense contest with things heating up on the court. The renegades took charge of the contest in the late stages of both sets and were able to book their date in the semis and top 4 finish.

Back on the Bandits side of the court the #1 seed has it’s advantages and a low seed first playoff game is one of them. Coach Gratton coolly guided his charges to a pair of straight set wins over both Pegasus and Unity Markham. One spot in the final was booked and they awaited the outcome of the other semis hoping for an all Maverick final (Something that would have been a first on the boys side of the ledger for sure.)

The Renegades fought tooth and nail against the #3 seed Leaside Thunder 14u succumbing in the third by the ever so close score of 13-15. With that near miss fresh in their heads the ‘Gades couldn’t recover there game and fell to a 4th place finish. A great day in any regard with Maverick squads finishing 1st and 4th.

A little further east along the St Lawrence, in Cornwall the new and improved 2015 Longhorns were on a mission scribed out by head Coach Kerry MacLean. The coach was determined to change the way this group perceived themselves and their capabilities. A near miss at the Quebec open should have shown them what they could accomplish working together as a family. Today would be a true test of both skill and composure.

Up first were the pesky Cornwall Vikings of coach Dave Haley. This plucky group wanted nothing more than to prove their ability and were willing to take a shot at their local goliath. A great start had the team near deadlocked at 10 but the ‘Horns pulled away with an overpowering offense and tenacious D to win in straight sets. Next up were the Markham Revolution Revs whose fiery court commander demanded more than his charges were capable of. The Longhorns completely controlled the Revs and swept them in a second straight set win

Playoffs and a move to Heritage high school. The Venom Vipers of Markham were also sporting a new look line-up. The Longhorns met their first set-back here with a tight 23-25 loss in the first set. Undaunted the team picked up their blocking and serving games and dominated both the Second and third sets to move into the landmark semi-final the coach had been using as motivation in training.

The semifinal held two significant landmarks. First the winner of the match would move up to the Premiere Division for the next event, something it took this group of boys an entire season to accomplish last year. Getting it done now was clearly the expectation of the coach and with a complete team effort using 14 substitutions in tactical means the ‘Horns were able to scratch their way back from an 11-16 deficit in the first set to win 25-20 and then dominate the second to a 22-14 lead. Holding off a fierce charge by the Fusion 16u boys (22-23) which nearly crumbled the Mavs confidence until, with a deftly placed deep roll shot by Alex Sollars the Fusion team came unglued and fell 22-25 to the Maverick juggernaut. An intense battle between two teams that respect each other and know there will be more clashes later in the season for sure.

With the emotional win of the semis and the “mission accomplished feeling the Longhorns proved to be no match for the defending provincial champions Durham Attack. A relentless attack and tough serving pressure by Attack they totally controlled the Mavs to a straight set win. Two finals in two tournaments a good start to the season but now this team needs to raise that bar a little higher when they get these chances.

Great weekend by all and one more to go before the Christmas break. See you next week.

 

 

 

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“ The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don't play together, the club wont be worth a dime.  ”
– Babe Ruth
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