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Club News Story

This weekend was the 13,16 and 18u boy's and 18u girl's titles that were up for grabs.

2016 / 04 / 19

The 18u teams for our club came in to this tournament in excellent position (Mustangs #5 and Broncos #6) to make some noise. The draw had something to say about that both in teams providing resistance and the schedule not provided a needed respite where needed.
The Mustangs 18u Boys lead by Frank St Denis were hoping to use the momentum of their best performance of the season in the Grand Prix to move up the ladder here. Day one was as expected with the team going 3-0 with wins over Forest City, Northumberland and Pakmen’s 17u squad. Following that with straight set wins over Leaside and the hometown Predators setting up a must win in their final pool math if they were to avoid an early Pakmen encounter. Unfortunately this is where the wagon started getting wobbly. A straight set loss to Aurora was the sign that things were slipping. The loss meant a pre-quarter with Durham which the boys struggled in but prevailed. This set up a quarter-final with the STVC Nemesis team that has become all too familiar to our guys. It seemed that a season sweep of these Scarborough spikers would be completed here as the ‘Stangs took the opener  by 4. Midway through the second OVA All-star and future UCLA Bruin Daenan Gyimah would take the match on his shoulders and complete a stellar comeback that our guys could not match. Even with the Mustangs up 13-11 in the third Daenan became even more determined to show that great players make the difference. Hats off to a young man who is first class. Now it’s up to our guys to replay in Saskatoon where they must learn to bring their game to the next level for their final shot at club ball. I know they have it in them, they will have to show the rest of you.
The 18u Broncos also entered the draw with a lot of high hopes. A 6th place seed and also a great performance in the Grand Prix gave coach Colin Walker high expectations. The draw on the women’s side had an ominous feature that no other draw in the championships had. If you had a bad luck first day it could cost. Coming out of the gates with a convincing win over E381 no one had that possibility on their mind. But is was Freaky Friday and losses to Pakmen 17u and LVC 17u would leave the girls with a 1-2 record. When the dust settled that Broncos ended up in tie for third. The problem with that is it is also a tie for last. The loss to the 17u Pakmen girls would mean that the last place spot would be their destiny and the chance at a title was already out of reach. After a period of disbelief and difficulty all-around the Broncos looked at the situation and realized only one result would give them retribution and hope for Edmonton. Nothing short of a perfect record for the remainder of the tournament would suffice. Maybe it was the awarding of the Evelyn Holick award to teammate Emie Gaboury that distracted them or a night of team bonding and regrouping mentally around the team mission statement. Saturday and Sunday were both phenomenal examples of a strong mental response. 6 straight victories 4 of them being the gritty 3 set variety would see the team rising from the ashes to win gold in the second Division of Tier 1. With several 17u teams and a few 18u teams not attending Edmonton the Broncos might just yet see the light at the National Championships and like the Mustangs they will fly out there with a burning desire to prove their last event in Maverick colours will be their finest.
During the afternoon wave I had several chances to watch our second 18u girls team, the Colts compete in their final tournament as club players. This team has from September been the heart and soul of coach Arron Wade. Aaron and Lee Reath his assistant came to us with the desire to form a second team to allow more girls a chance to play in their final season than our plan of only one. The girls have worked hard all season and coach Wade has put in so many hours of planning and dedication to the group. They were in in the bottom half of the draw of Division 2 but I watched a group of young athletes give their all every match, work hard, compete to the best and always remain a team. This group was one of the lower finishers of the championships with only one win over Peel Selects. But in my eyes they were one of the highest sources of pride in what we do. My hearfelt thanks go out to the coaches and parents for making this season happen and for these girls for all the effort and time you sacraficed for the sport you love.

From athletes playing in their final event to those who are experiencing Ontario Championships for the first time. The 13u boys Copperheads and Diamondbacks were set for putting their game on display. Coach Paul Rainville was pressed into double duty with the support of Coach Louise McNicoll as Copperhead head coach Simon Doyle away on course until Sunday the days were busy. Let’s see if I can get it straight. The Diamondbacks were the higher seed coming in to play Friday, pool play for these boys would be very different. Three large pools of 7 teams was the format. So pool play took two days, they would win 5 of those 6 and place themselves in a great position for the playoffs. Their only loss to Leaside was overshadowed by wins over Durham, Barrie, Phoenix, Stratford and Niagara. Playoff wins over London Sharks and Aurora Storm brought on the inevitable semi-final match-up with Pakmen. The rest of the tournament would leave a sour taste in everyone’s mouth but despite losses to Pakmen in the semis and Leaside in the bronze medal games we are incredibly proud of one more top four finish on the boys side.

The Diamondbacks had a pool of 8 and as such one more game than the ‘Backs. They put together wins over both representatives from the home-town Predators but lost several close three setters in their other 5. In the end the return of coach Simon Doyle spurred the boys on in their opening playoff game with a decisive 25-10 win over Durham Attack but the next two slipped away by the narrowest of margins 23-25 and 14-16. With at least half of the players a year younger than the age group the hope is we are toasting their successes when they return to RIM Park next season.

Last on the list is the longest standing Maverick representative the Longhorns at 16u. The ‘Horns hobbled in to Waterloo and  their biggest strength all season; blocking, was not quite what it needed to be. Seeded 12th in the draw meant that they were the lowest seed in the top tier and got their championships underway with a match-up against #1 Pakmen. After that rude awakening the Longhorns slipped in tight 28-30, 22-25 loss to the eventual 4th place Thundercats black and a three set 14-16 loss to Georgetown meant they were in last and would have to drop down a tier as the Broncos did. The difference for some unknown reason was that if a first place standing was achieved on day two they would return to the top tier and have a shot at it again. Day two started with a shock from the Vision club of North Bay. Winning a set in the loss allowed head coach Kerry MacLean the chance to preach the “it’s not over, but you will need help” That help came after the Longhorns dismantled Markham Lions in the form of a three set win by the Waterloo Tigers over Vision. This returned the destiny of the Longhorns to their own hands, a straight set win would clinch the pool and set up a pre-quarter match-up with Fusion who they have beaten twice this season. Unfortunately the first set, which started with the Mav boys dominating 15-10 lead slipped away and the eventual loss now meant the control was now just a glimmering flicker of hope. Winning the last two by lopsided scores might just do the trick. The two wins were decisive and the preached about three-way tie had occurred. However, the fact that all matches went the distance worked against the Longhorns fortunes, and they had to settle for second. Div 2 it was and we needed to return to form. It appeared that things were all straightened out with a straight set win over Durham Red in the quarters and after a second set slip vs Pakmen 15u the team bolted to an 11-3 lead. But like the man says “the lady wasn’t quite singing she was only warming up her voice” The young Pakmen group would even the score at 11’s and after surviving 2 match points they finished the deal with tough serving and big responses in the middle. After the emotions cleared the ‘Horns still had to try for Bronze but on that day it seemed the distraction of such a huge collapse was too much for them to rebound from and 4th in Div 2 was the result. 16th place was not the vantage point we expected going in but we have no one to blame. The goal now is to re-group, shake it off, straighten it out and return to RIM Park in May with a different attitude and bigger finish.



“ My motto was always to keep swinging. Whether I was in a slump or feeling badly or having trouble off the field, the only thing to do was keep swinging. ”
– Hank Aaron