Talk about a great way to kick off the March break.
Attending their first tournament of the season, the Northern Chill 14U Blue Vortex secured silver medals, gradually improving over the course of the day and ousted only by the powerhouse that was the Stratford Stingers, a juggernaut that allowed their opponents to reach the 20-point plateau only twice on the day.
Facing the Norfolk Chaos out of the gate, the Chill rebounded from a 23-25 setback, flipping the tables in game two (25-23) and then clinching first place in Pool B with a 26-24, 25-19 victory over Titans Force from Toronto.
The northern girls cruised through quarter-final play to the final four, dunking the Peel Selects Slam 25-10, 25-16 and keeping it rolling against the Grimsby Vipers in the semis, 25-23, 25-21. A 12-25, 14-25 loss to a Stratford team that did not drop a single set took little away from a great day overall for head coach Lisa Ayre and company.
“The girls played tremendous and really grew as a team,” she said. “They played hard and maximized their strengths. We are very proud of each athlete, many of whom are in their first year of competitive volleyball.”
The youngsters are also dealing with the advent of TNS volleyball (traditional non-specialized), an attempt to bridge the gap between the more developmental “tripleball” being played at even younger ages, and the traditional six on six game.
“Playing in TNS has allowed the athletes at this age to learn all positions of the game, which in my opinion allows them to develop a better understanding of the entire game as a whole,” suggested coach Ayre.
The 2021-2022 Northern Chill 14U Blue Vortex squad features Bella MacIsaac, Saige Bradley, Bella Sooley, Arianne Bertrand, Jayda McKee, Hailey Ayre, Brooklyn Melanson, Grace Bourget, Maya Herst, head coach Lisa Ayre and assistant coach Matthew Sooley.