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Tuesday, Apr. 23, 2019
Shaking off the rust at an early season tournament
by Randy Pascal

There may have been some early season rust that the Northern Chill 15U Blue girls needed to shake loose at their inaugural OVA tournament of the 2018-2019 campaign, but by the afternoon session, they were clearly showing signs of what they potentially could become.

The team bounced back from an 0-2 performance in round robin play, along with a loss in the very difficult quarter-final encounter that accompanied their preliminary round ranking, capturing their final two matches, including earning a measure of revenge from their first contest of the day.

Competing at the 15U Girls Provincial Cup – Championship B tournament in Maple last Saturday, the Chill stumbled in their opener, falling 22-25, 25-5, 8-15 to the Lakeside Sjamboks (Oakville). Pitted against the eventual gold medal winning team in game two, the northern crew were swept aside 17-25, 17-25 by the Georgetown Impact - Black.

The back to back setbacks forced a cross-over match against the Smash Legacy (Hamilton), the top seeded team in Pool B, as the silver medal crew disposed of the Chill 25-22, 28-26. With a very tight loss providing ample confidence to coach Joanna Castonguay and company, it was time to celebrate some victories.

After taking down their northern rivals, the West Nipissing Wild (Sturgeon Falls), in straight sets (25-7, 25-14), the Chill evened their record with the Sjamboks, besting the Lakeside squad 25-13, 25-18 and finishing right in the middle of the pack, ranked fifth in the nine-team tournament.

“Our first morning was a great learning experience, as we struggled with nerves and playing as a team,” said Castonguay. “The afternoon, however, was a different story. We played as one group, with one goal in mind.”

Looking to move forward with a club entry that enjoyed some success, across the province last year, Castonguay noted some individual performances, right out of the gate. “Emma Coutu's improved serving skills were put on display throughout the day, and gave us many chances at points in bunches.”

“The defence and serve receive of Mackenzie Selk was so consistent, and her spark of positive energy gave us a boost when we needed to close out sets. If we are able to consistently serve tough and keep the energy positive, we will continue to improve,” Castonguay added.

Rounding out the team roster this year, for the 15U Chill Blue, are Alexa Gordon, Alexia Lemay-Evans, Brianne Perreault, Erin Wiseman, Grace Perrier, Haven Fournier, Rory Frantz, Sophie Gaffney, and asssistant coach Claudette Loranger.

The team will next see action on Saturday, December 8th, though the venue for the tournament is still undecided.

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