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Club News Story
 

Blackjacks go state side and finish third!

2017 / 03 / 02

We travelled to Washington DC over the Family Day long weekend to compete in the Mizuno Capitol Hill Classic. With 224 teams registered in the 16U age group over three Divisions we were hoping that the 24 plus hours (return) on the bus would be rewarded with tough new competition for us to get better for the latter part of our season.

The tournament was divided up into three Divisions our division was the top one called “Open” and it had 64 teams in the draw, the Patriot Division had 64 teams and the Club Division had 96 teams. We entered the tournament as the 13thseed knowing nothing about the other three teams in the pool other had some YouTube videos that we had found the night before on two of the three teams we would face on day one.

The format for the tournament was simple, each day the field gets cut into half, you win you get moved on to the 1st-2nd half and you lose and you get moved to the 3-4thplace half with the other pool finishers. Our first match was against the Princeton Volleyball Club from Princeton, New Jersey where we were able to learn the nuisances of the USVBA rules and the new lighter Molten ball. We came out on top 25-16 and 25-20

Our second match was against a physical looking team from Alexandria, Virginia called Northern Virginia Premier. We came out on top 25-23 and 25-17 with some solid team serving often forcing them to set the attacker where we had three blockers ready to stop or slow them down. With that win we knew we would finish at worse second in the pool and assuring ourselves of being in the right half after day one. The third match was against the pool’s other undefeated team Coastal Hampton Roads 16 National from Newport News, VA. Once again our serving was the difference in this match winning in three 25-21, 19-25 and 15-11. With no disrespect to our opponents from day one the calibre of play was slightly below the Premier level in Ontario, which allowed us to shake off the travel legs and get accustomed to the new ball and rules.

We knew that day two was going to be considerably tougher as we would face teams who have either won or placed second in their day one pool. First up was Sportime 16 Gold from Long Island, NY who we think took us lightly simply because of the fact that we were Canadian. One of their parents asked us where we were from and once he heard we were from Canada he proceeded to state, “this should be an easy one for them”. Not sure if it was his dry sense of humour or he was that confident but we blew them out with the scores only appearing close after we made mercy substitutions (25-20 and 25-17). Being so close to Theresa Caputo (Google that name) you think that parent would have at least checked in with her prior to making that bold prediction. [Side note: This “powerhouse” team finished 25th– now turn off our sarcasm]

Our second match was against Virginia Top Team 16 from Herndon, VA. We were almost flawless winning both sets 25-13 and 25-12, our serving put this team under tremendous pressure and it allowed us to execute free ball after free ball and we scored early and often. With this win we knew we were already on the right half after day two.

Like day one the last match of the day was the toughest of the day. Triangle Blue from Morrisville, NC is a strong team with two big athletic and quick middles as well as two big and physical left sides We battled each other point for point to 20 in the first set and some unforced errors pushed the match to 21-25 for Triangle. The second set was very close to 15 until we ran into a very strong server from Triangle who scored on her strong serving or put us into some pressure because we could not control the serve we lost 17-25. There was a lot of respect shared between the teams after the match on a very skilled display from both sides.

Day three was the top 16 teams of the tournament and it was a win you play again lose you go home. In the round of 16 match we drew Ballyhoo Crew 16 White from York, PA who on day two beat a very and we mean very physical team called Metro VBC 16 Travel from Washington, DC (25-11, 10-25 and 15-12). Their pool played beside us and there are not too many teams in Canada or at this tournament for that matter that made us look physically small. This Metro team drew a huge crowd of NCAA scouts for all their matches it was a ball wrecking show to see them warm up with their loud music and bouncing ball after bouncing ball. A quick look at the roster has 5 of their 12 athletes touching 9’11 or higher. That’s right basketball rim or higher.

(http://www.metrovbc.com/roster/show/2867794?subseason=343365)

We would be in very tough with Ballyhoo Crew in our round of 16 match. We came out serving rockets to very tough locations at them and this put them off balance for the whole first set where we won 25-13. We were not surprised when Ballyhoo started the second set with a 4-0 lead, they were not a big physical team but their ball control and placement was very strong. But every time we sided out, our serve to them got stronger and stronger eventually putting so much pressure on their serve receive that they were unable to run an effective offense against our big block on our way to a 25-18 win.

Next up was TCVA 16 Royal from Kernersville, NC. We were able to watch the third set of their round of 16 match and it became apparent that they relied on one very skilled shot making left side. This left side was identified by Prepvolleyball.com as one of the 12 players to watch from this tournament and deservedly so. Going into the first set we knew what we had to do and that was to keep their left side very busy on defence and serve receive so that she could not make the shots for her team. We were semi successful by winning 25-20 in that set. In the second set, we really exposed their one player does all tactic and cruised to a 25-16 win.

We were in the final four! Who would be facing but Triangle who beat us the day earlier in pool play. We played some incredible volleyball against this team but their shot making, strong serving and explosive left sides were too much for us to handle losing 17-25 and 22-25. It was a well played match by both sides. The matches can be found here:

Set 1: https://youtu.be/AELNJbPvYlk

Set 2: https://youtu.be/JL4bj-5ijbA

Unfortunately there was no bronze medal match and based on our winning percentage for the weekend we were awarded third place. Triangle lost a heart breaking three sets to Virginia Juniors in the finals who earlier in the day knocked off that powerhouse Metro team.

Special thanks to coach Spack for helping that weekend and congratulations to Chloe for being named the Age Division’s Best Server and to Portia for being one of the 12 named by Prepvolleyball.com as players to watch at that tournament.

Next up for us is the 16U Grand Prix.

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“ Persistence is the twin sister of excellence. One is a matter of quality; the other, a matter of time. ”
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