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Club News Story

Competition Weekend #1 Round-up

2015 / 11 / 15

Alrighty then, let's head down the 401 to Milton where our youngest boys were taking to the court, many of them for the first time, exciting and nervous times for coaches Rainville and Doyle. This season has all the 13u teams branded as types of snakes that brought fear to the hearts of the old west settlers, this year's crew hopes to do the same with their opponents. The Copperheads and Diamondbacks both had excellent days with the Copperheads finishing 5th as true novices to OVA play. For those of you readers also new to the OVA this means the team was unable to win their quarterfinal game but bounced back to win a tough follow-up game for placement. Some times this game is the hardest to win due to the emotional let down and the consequences that can arise from a 7th place finish. (More about those later)

The Diamondbacks did win their quarterfinal game to make it into the medal round. Here they faced a set-back in the semi-final, but the coaches were able to get the guys to rebound well and take the Bronze medal. (Again what some think is the hardest medal to win.) Great job by all these youngsters and I know we will be writing good things about their season to come. The Coaches are thrilled with the dynamic of this group and their families.

Staying with the boys side the Rangers 17u HP team (A new nickname to the club this season) showed they are ready to continue their winning ways. The morning started with a tough new/old opponent. The 2014/15 Ontario silver medalist Markham Stingers were forced to dissolve this season and most, along with their coach swarmed to Scarborough where they joined the Titans club. This move seeded them near the bottom at the first event leading to a battle early in the day that would set the tone for both teams. This opening loss was followed by 4 successive wins over Scarborough Onyx, Ottawa Fusion and Toronto Leaside to get back to a rematch with the Titans. In the finals however the right combinations came together for a thrilling three set Gold Medal victory with the their third finishing 15-13 and bringing out the Dunning jig in celebration as the first gold of the season goes to coach Dunning in his debut at the helm of this talented group of young men, they appear ready to climb back to the top of the provincial podium which they ascended to in 15u.

Switching to the girls side my head is spinning with all the events and locations. Starting with 15u we had 4 teams in action this weekend. Two in Whitby at the Championship level and two in Pembroke at Trillium. With the top 4 teams in championship moving up to Premier the day was a big one for coaches Nguyen and Tanguay as they felt their squads had what it takes to move up.

The Ambush lead by coach John Nguyen entered the day as the #2 seed and won their first round easily over the Breakers from Cobourg, but followed with a slight slip in the second round against the ThunderCats. All of this  meant a second place finish in the B pool, while this was not devastating in and of itself it would have further ramifications for Maverick players and coaches later in the day.

On the adjacent court the Stampede were battling with the best in the province last season and holding their own. A though three set loss to the Galaxy Rockets was followed by a great win over the Titans Titanium from Scarborough (eventual tournament silver medalists) placed them second in their pool as well.

Now for the uninitiated, finishing 2nd in both pools B and C was the worst possible result the two Maverick teams could post. This result would mean they would have to play each other with only one team moving up to Premier while the other would have to battle to remain at the Championship level.

In a nail biting battle that had everyone on edge, the Ambush eeked out a straight set win by the narrowest of margins in both sets. Something that would make us proud after team selection would lead to an emotional roller-coaster for the players. "Good enough" said Coach Nguyen as his team qualified for the next level however the emotional let down after reaching this goal may have cost them their next two matches as they settled in the end for a 4th place finish. But let's remember a ticket to Premier was the goal and it was achieved, so for the coaching staff it is now on to the next goal or was the coach playing possum and showing nothing to his opponents for the next Premier? Time will tell.

The Stampede on the other hand would suffer slightly worse from the loss. Possibly crushed by losing such a close match against their sister team these girls were unable to rebound and lost the placement match that would have kept them in the Championship tier. Now due to a 7th place standing the team will have to play the next round in Trillium, where, as we see will lead to more encounters with other Maverick teams in key games no doubt.

Speaking of Trillium, that's where our next stop takes us, up the river in Pembroke where the Trailblazers and Scouts gave their all during pool play. The Scouts were another new name introduced to the club this year and as such found the path to a first place finish in the pool with wins over both the host Pembroke Vikings and the Ottawa Fusion 15u teams. This set them up well for the play-offs alongside the Trailblazers and coach Rose Bergeron who also won their pool which they entered as the #1 seed. Wins over the newly formed Ottawa Rebels and the Pumas from Prescott Russell gave the team a path of their own to the medal round. A perfect finish for both teams heading in to the playoff round.

The Scouts, and new coach Andrei Mant learned quickly that a perfect start is not always enough in the OVA. That pesky quarterfinal match came back to bite them as they lost to the Pumas and had to battle for a 5th place finish in the end. The Trailblazers would go on to win their opening playoff round advancing them to a semi final vs cross town rivals the Ottawa Fusion. Unfortunately they could not duplicate the Scouts feat and had to play for the bronze. The girls didn't disappoint and with a great win they earned their first hardware of the season. Two teams... eight wins.. two losses. A day full of smiles for the most part I imagine. But also filled with motivation to get back to the gym and "give 'er" in preparation for the next round.

At the 17u age group Championship level the GoldRush HP, who have not reported in as of yet, had a tough quarterfinal loss as well, but winning their placement game leaves them in a first tournament limbo as they wait to see if their finish last season is good enough to vault them up with the top 4 to the Premier tier for the next event. Good luck to coach Judy Mousseau and the girls, may the numbers favour your future.

In Cornwall the 16u BlackJacks and Wildcards gave it a go at playing up and had days that left their coaches looking forward to next weekend's 16u opener. John Spack's BlackJacks built momentum throughout their pool and first two playoff games earning a finals berth when they beat the 17u Fusion squad in a great semi-final match. Now they waited to see if their sister team; who was in a battle against the visiting Noir at Or from Montreal could make it an all Maverick final in an age group up.

The Wildcards also won their pool earlier and their quarter to get in this match against the Quebec interlopers, who last season foiled the hopes of many 16U east region OVA teams trying to advance when they were known as the "Grizzlis". Again it was not to be for the valiant 16u squad as those newly branded 17U Noir et Or won the battle and clawed their way to the final. That momentum would take them all the way to OVA gold vs the 'Jacks; who in settling for a silver medal (it does have a lining it seems! ;-) will still move up to Championship level with this result as the Quebec team has already indicated that they will not compete at the next 17U OVA tournament. The Wildcards devastated in the semi-final loss were unable to hand the Fusion team a second loss to a Maverick squad and finished a tired but satisfying 4th for their new Maverick head Coach Patrick Henderson who was happy with his first foray into battle under a new brand.

In a reverse twist our 16U Gamblers travelled to Montreal on Sunday to participate in the Invitation Bleu et Or tournament where they would be the Ontario spoliers in Quebec.The morning started off brilliantly with 3 wins in round robin play pool play. The playoffs started after lunch with a hard fought quarter final which went to 3 seeing the Gamblers prevail against a pesky team from Joliette les Libellules Bleues. The semis was a little easier but a challenge non the less with the girls sweeping the Citadins de Vaudreuil-Dorion in 2. No sooner were we done that the finals began. The Sherbrooke Barons were the opponent for this gold medal match and they came out swinging for the fences beating us handily in the first set, the second set saw the Gamblers in full control and taking it to a third and deciding set. A very skilled Barons team started off strong and we were not able to catch up but putting up a heck of a fight.

According to coach Joel Bergeron the weekend was a resounding success with a silver medal. Better than that the girls showed the coaching staff that they are more than ready for the upcoming OVA season. This was a first exposure to competitive volleyball for one of our athletes and she played like an experienced pro. The girls were able to bond and work out a lot of kinks preparing us for the upcoming weekend with our 16 UG Provincial Cup OVA tournament in Hawkesbury.

Congrats all round to all teams and coaches on a job well done for your first weekend of play, I am sure there are many more thrills to come out way over the coming weeks as the season progresses. 

Here are some pics from around the horn to give you a taste of the success.

Rangers GOLD


Diamondbacks and Copperheads in Milton.

Ambush in Action

Trailblazers Bronze

“ Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude. ”
– W.W. Ziege