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Club News Story
 

Final weekend before break is Golden

2016 / 03 / 06

Let’s begin with the baby’s of the club. Our 13u Girls Sidewinders under the guidance of head coach Andy Slutier have been making steady progress all season. You see a majority of this team is actually 12u and the beginning was a bit rough for the newbies. But all season coach Slutier has been preaching the progess of the group who have even played up an age division (so really two). Last week they got their first win at 14u now they have upped that by a expnential factor by winning Gold at their 13u Trillium event in Kingston Saturday. Coach Andy tells me that the team was good on both sides of the ball throughout the day thus leading to a sweep of their pool over Evolution and Fusion and a definite gutsy win in the finals over an up and coming DA 12u group. Great work sidewinders.

In staying with the 13u age group coach John Salem and his Rattler crew were a little further down the 401 at the first championship event for the age division. There they ran into some stiff competition. Battling hard they finished second in their pool and went on to lose heartbreakers in the quarters (vs #2 seed) and then again a three set 2 point loss in the match for 5/7. Always the optimist coach Salem points out that a bounce here or a touch there and they could have been in the medal round as easily. Always a good sign when the person driving the bus can see the road ahead so clearly.

Moving up an age group and switching genders to 14u boys our two teams were also on the road, Kingston as usual for Coach Sylvain Ducharme’s Renegades but for coach Paul Gratton and the Bandits they had the long haul to Kitchener for their second Premier event. When we last heard from the former Olympian he was determined to reverse the fate of a disappointing 5th place finish at the first Premier event and did he ever. Going undefeated on the day through 4 tough matches after an early morning win, the team rose to the occasion in what he called 4 high level matches. Capping the day with straight set wins over Pakmen in the semi-finals and Georgetown Impact in the finals. A great day for all where the Bandits' road home is Golden and you have re-established your place in the OVA hierarchy. Meanwhile in Kingston at the Championship event the Renegades had a great day of their own, coming up one win short of their brother team's accomplishment. A tough loss to the Leaside Thunder in the finals left the team with a Silver reward but the third loss of the season in close manner to Leaside tarnished the outcome just a little, but again we see a team reach it's best finish of the season and coach Sylvain is confident the team is progessing toward the championships in good stead. from our perspective this age group is making in-roads like we have never seend before at such a young age and are expanding the horizons for the boy's side of the club in the near future. Two medals in the same day at one age group...spectacular.

Staying with the boys but at the 16u level the Longhorns were in Oshawa again (4th tournament at same gym) playing once again in the championship division. The field was weak and the boys were able to build on their confidence and work on several aspects that have eluded them recently. The team had their eyes focused on the finals and a rematch with the OF whom they lost the last tournament to, when suddenly a very relaxed and confident DA15u team shook up the mix. The home team stormed to a first set win and second set lead ,which the ‘Horns overcame late in the set. Then DA bolted to a 8-2 lead over our guys in the 3rd, determined to focus on each point and their “compete level” as planned the Longhorns chipped away and won a nail-biter 19-17 to the thunderous relief of a shocked parent group. With that scare behind them and a sense that they “had it within themselves" to overcome adversity the team moved to the finals and that date with the OF team waiting for the rematch. The first set was everything we had hoped it would be with the score swinging back and forth but the Longhorns held on to prevail 25-22. The second was all Fusion with a 25-16 win and a lot of confidence going to the final set, where they bumped up their line-up looking for the win. The start of the third was just that a continuation of the second but the turning point was what I love about the people who play this game. A Fusion player offering to the official that he did in fact touch a ball the ref called out and that overturned call seems to inspire our troops and they surged back to win the third and Gold medal in a convincing manner. To Frank and all the fusion group all I can say is be proud. It was a great battle once more and a first class move by a young man. Also good job on the morning prank to whomever… always good to see fun can be had by rivals.

The last group was of course the busiest and still is as I work this article over. The 16u girls age division is always the most crowded with 4 teams of the age group and three 15u playing up we saw 7 Maverick squads take action.

The still ongoing and I will update as the 16u  BlackJacks of Coach John Spack are playing in the 2day East-GrandPrix and as of now have advanced from a third place pool placement to the semis finals and a shot at a medal. With a roster decimated by injury the coach coaxed the most out of his girls. In the end a tough loss in the semi lead to a hope in the Bronze, a first set win over Pakmen gave the plucky band hope and they stormed out to a 6-2 advantage early in the second. But the Pakmen ladies showed why they are the #3 seed in Ontario and worked their way back to a three set 15-11 win over our gals.

The championship D division had the 16u Wildcards and 15u Stampede playing in Richmond Hill, while the 15u Ambush played in the Championship C event in Markham.

The Wildcards and Stampede both had good day but their unfortunate end came at the hands of the cross-town rival Fusion 16u team which is surging to the finish. The Stampede lost a heartbreaking QF in three which would have set up a date with the Wildcards, who instead fell 2-0 to the Fusion side. Both teams were looking for strong play across the board and they found it throughout the schedule even in their eventual losses. Have not heard anything about a potential Bronze for the Wildcards but will find out this afternoon.

Meanwhile a satisfied coach Nguyen reflected on incredible performances against highly ranked 15u premier level teams playing in the same event and was impressed with how his team competed despite the some illness and nagging injury problems and "as much even play philosophy" that we know other clubs do not follow whne playing outside their age division. His confidence on the preparedness of the Ambush for their upcoming OC’s is buoyed by lots of positive feedback from the coaches of those teams compliments and desire not to be Ambushed themselves by this group when in Waterloo next month. A 7th place finish never felt this good, knowing they have more to show.

Meanwhile at the 16u Trillium event in Kingston the Gamblers of coach Joel Bergeron took it from coast to coast winning the Gold medal in an otherwise non-Maverick event. Will add to this after I see the big guy.

It seems the OVA has split us up which is ok, as coach Rose Bergeron and her 15u Trailblazers won Bronze in Cornwall, an event the included the 16u Aces who had a 4-1 day, which we all know is a great result as far as averages go, however the reality of when that one loss occurs is often the vinegar that sours the milk. A tough quater final loss to a team that went to the finals left coach Faulkner feeling like the day's 5th place standing was not reflective of his team's performance on the court. This event was marked by the non-appearance of a team and the schedule being re-worked on the spot. The delay and re-config aside coach Rose tells us the the 15u girls were on the verge of the final as well but the same scrappy Kemptville Mustangs denied them. A win over the home town Vikings made the drive back a little easier.

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“ Obstacles are those things you see when you take your eyes off of your goal. ”
– Henry Ford
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