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Club News Story

Outlaws win 17U tournament!

2014 / 11 / 12

This past weekend (November 8, 2014) the Outlaws HP took to the court for their first competitive play of the season at the 17U Trillium tournament in Kingston. Last year’s edition of the Outlaws, the 15U Ambush HP, only played in one 16U tournament and did not participate in the 16U Ontario Championships hence we had to start from the Trillium tier and earn our right to play in higher tiers at an age group older. The tournament being hosted in Kingston was both a blessing and a curse – we could sleep in our own beds but had to get out of those beds early enough so that we could make the 2 hour drive to Kingston for a 9AM match.

The team goal for this tournament was to ensure that the athletes on the team learned to play together and to ensure that they all played equally.

The Outlaws entered the tournament as the 7thseeded team and had in our pool the top seeded Durham Attack Red (DA) and the 6thseeded Eastern Ontario Volleyball Club (EOVC). We are not sure if it was the early morning drive for us or the nerves of playing up an age division the Outlaws never really got on track for the first match against DA losing two straight sets to the top seeds 22-25 and 18-25. Fortunately, the Outlaws did not have a chance to think too much about the slow start as we played the EOVC immediately after our loss to DA.  Luckily for us, we may have caught EOVC not at their best and won the match 25-20 and 25-23.

We learned while on our break that there was a three way tie for first in our pool as EOVC beat DA in two sets causing a log jam at the top of Pool A with three teams with identical 1-1 records. After the tie breakers were applied the Outlaws placed second in the pool. We are not sure whether it was the delicious food buffet that our parents set up or whether we were finally waking up but the Outlaws played their best volleyball in the afternoon.

First up in the quarter finals were the third seeded Clarington Grizzlies.  The Outlaws came out in the first set a little sluggish but regained the lead and never looked back and won 25-20. In the second set the Outlaws had the lead but let the Grizzlies back into the set and lost 21-25. The loss meant that we would now be playing the third and deciding set to see who would advance to the semi-final. The Outlaws showed their maturity and experience gained from tough/heart breaking third set losses last year and played calm and without the fear of losing. Although the Outlaws were behind in the third set they never seemed to panic and continued to chase point after point. Their collective calmness was evident in team time outs and with all respect to our opponents, the Outlaws never felt that they were in jeopardy of losing the set. The third set was won by a score of 15-13.

Waiting and watching our quarter final were the DA team. The first set was well played by both teams with the Outlaws coming out ahead 25-22. The second set started with a 19 point serving run by Rebecca Maxwell who served with precision and confidence and by the time DA sided out the ball we had a commanding 19-2 lead. The Outlaws used that huge momentum swing to play nearly flawless volleyball and won the second set by a score of 25-5.

In the final we faced the fourth seeded team from Bourget, the Phenix who just played an exciting three set semi-final to advance to the final. Both teams were assured of a berth in the Championship tier for the next 17U OVA tournament however they still treated the spectators to some excellent volleyball in the finals.

Once again, with all due respect to our opponents, the Outlaws on average had three to four inches in height advantage to our neighbours to the East and hit ball after ball at the Phenix team, but the ladies from Bourget dug everything that was sent their way. Most if not all the Phenix digs were spectacular and it appeared that they were content with playing solid defence and waiting for the Outlaws to make mistakes on offence. That strategy worked for the marathon first set as the Phenix prevailed 28-26. As mentioned earlier, a previous version of this Outlaws team would have struggled but this year’s Outlaws took the loss in stride and continued to come at Phenix with a solid offence and hope to grind away at the Phenix defence with healthy doses of well placed and off speed shots. This approach was successful and the Outlaws won 25-22 in the second.

The third set had the Outlaws behind 6-8 at the side change however their confidence was not shaken and the Outlaws were able to win 9 of the 13 rallies after the side change to win 15-12.

Sometimes teams are lucky to win not having executing their game plan while others execute their game plan to the tee and still lose, both scenarios add gray hairs for their coaching staff.

This past weekend the Outlaws were able to execute their game plan:

  • All athletes played equally and in significant roles
  • Rotated two setters (Sophie Roy / Rebecca Maxwell)  and four outside hitters ( Christina Lin / Marie Laurence-Laroche / Bianca Ruiz / Samantha Balys ) all tournament
  • Mia Workman was solid for us on the Right Side as was Magalie Frappier at the libero position. 

We also faced some adversity as we sat out two athletes (coaching staff mandated rest – Kira Taylor and Christian Lin ) after the semi-final thus leaving us to play with only 8 athletes.  Our first year middle (i.e. never played competitive volleyball), Shannon Lebreux stepped up and played the lead middle role and Samantha stepped into the other middle spot, a position she has played in the past but had minimal training in the position this season and she didn’t seem to miss a beat. Lucky for the Outlaws we will be adding more depth as Meghan Routhier, who was absent for the first tournament, will return for the 16U tournament this coming weekend.

The Outlaws took the first small step towards our team goal this past weekend; we hope it’s the first of many this season.


“ The price of greatness is responsibility ”
– Sir Winston Churchill