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Friday, Mar. 22, 2019
Two or three points the difference between 7th and the medals
2018-12-31
by Randy Pascal

A seventh place finish in a nine team tournament might not seem, at first glance, to provide much reason to celebrate. But one does not have to dig very deep at all to see just how close the Northern Chill U13 – Black girls were from transforming that final placement into a legitimate shot at the medals earlier this month in Barrie.

The tone of parity was set early, with every team in Pool “A” winning one of their matches. Thankfully, the Chill would secure first place in their grouping by virtue of more set victories, downing the West Nipissing Wild (25-22, 25-20), but falling to the Collingwood Black Diamonds (24-26, 25-18, 13-15).

A first place finish leading to a quarter-final match-up with a third place team might normally provide for a slam dunk – but not in this tournament. The Chill went the distance with the Georgina Riptide – Rage, before narrowly missing out on semi-final play following a 16-25, 26-24, 12-15 setback.

No reason at this point to dial down the drama as the 5th/7th battle sees the Barrie Elites – Blue outlast the Sudbury crew, 25-17, 23-25, 13-15. Watching her team fight their way through four great matches and three highly intense third sets on the day, none of which were decided by more than three points, was more than head coach Carly Mauro could ask for.

“The girls showed a tremendous amount of progress over the weekend,” she said. “They applied all of the skills we have been practicing and worked hard they were utilizing them. The girls battled hard, over the course of the entire day.”

Individually, as well as a collective unit as a team, the players took turns in the spotlight. “Emily Venna was reliable throughout the day, both in the front court and the back,” said coach Mauro. “On every opportunity to serve, she was aggressive and consistent.”

“Abby Laporte demonstrated what she has been practicing, in a real game situation. She was an excellent defender, who did not let the ball hit the floor.”

Joining Venna and Laporte on the roster of the 2018-2019 Northern Chill U13 – Black team are Abbey Walker, Kate Rolston, Arianna Melanson, Danica Fleming, Paige Kultalahti, Mackenzie St Pierre, Marguerite Lefebvre, Mia Robson, Teia Kolari and coaches Carly Mauro and Sara-Jo Santi.

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