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Quality Inn - Sudbury
Sunday, Jun. 16, 2019
Chill produce silver and bronze at home court tournament
by Randy Pascal

To be sure, the Northern Chill 18U girls would have appreciated a head to head match-up with their 17U clubmates, as the teams took advantage of a rare opportunity to host OVA tournament action in Sudbury, securing two of the three medals that were up for grabs. Everything, outside of that however, points in the right direction.

With eight teams on hand, setting up a two pool (four teams each) format, the Chill secured first place in a very evenly matched grouping, winning four of their six morning sets. The team swept the Georgian Cubs – Terror (25-20, 25-11), and then proceeded to split with both the Orillia Suns – Chaos (21-25, 25-21) and the Barrie Elites HP (25-21, 17-25).

The quarter-finals proved tough, as the Chill needed three sets to dismiss Georgian Cubs – White, 24-26, 25-13, 15-6, dismissed to the bronze medal battle by the Orillia Suns – Prominence, 12-25, 23-25.

Yet if there is anything better than settling for third place, it's doing so at the expense of your northern rivals, as the 18U Chill sank the North Bay Lakers 26-24, 25-21. “It was a good overall performance from the team, as a whole, and a definite improvement from our previous tournament,” noted head coach Heather Hastie.

“We are looking to continue this line of improvement into our next tournament, early in the new year.” Most notably, Hastie was pleased with the work of Jaime Schweyer, who enjoyed a breakout day (“she scored a lot of timely points and was consistent in the back court as well”), as well as middles Ryann Hudson, Kate Dugdale and Taylor Bailey (“we were able to establish our middle attack, throughout the day, and also come up with some timely blocks”).

A grade 12 student at Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School, Dugdale is sensing a reward for the fruits of her team's labour in countless practice sessions. “We are becoming more consistent with our offense, deciding what we're going to run, when we're going to run it, if we are going to run combos,” she said. “We have been working a lot on that recently.”

The keys, it would seem, lie in communication and timing, along with the benefits that come along with the experience of playing together in dozens and dozens of sets. “We talk about the plays with our setter, Erin Gaffney, before-hand, and we have our signals, but it's also based on the pass,” said Dugdale.

“If the pass is off, then we have to switch it, but we try and stick with the main thing. It also depends on how their defense is playing, and who is on for us.” Suiting up alongside Gaffney since the tandem entered the club system at 14U, Dugdale smiles in reminiscing of the progress that has taken place over the course of her career with the Chill.

“Just my confidence and how I work with Erin, all of the repetitions I have done to get my footwork right,” she explained. “I used to be goofy-footed, but I really worked on that with my coaches, so that the timing is just right. It takes a lot of repetition to get that, especially as a middle.”

The team, which also includes Dara Desrochers, Jayden Rivers, Mallory Frantz, Sydney Koehler and assistant coach Kristen Sheffield, are off to Pembroke this Saturday, taking part in the 18U Girls McGregor Cup – Trillium C tournament.

For their part, the Northern Chill 17U girls matched their 18U counterparts, finishing first in their pool by taking four of six sets, proceeding to then defeat both the Georgian Cubs – Terror (16-25, 25-20, 15-8) and the North Bay Lakers (25-20, 20-25, 15-12), before dropping the final to the Orillia Suns – Prominence (10-25, 20-25).

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