Congrats to our Shock 16U girls team on their 2019 Div 1 Tier 1 National Championship!
Shock opened the tournament on Day 1 as the number 1 Manitoba seed which was only good enough to be the number 8 seed overall. We began our day against Oxbow Black Knights from Saskatchewan and came out on top with scores of 25-10, 25-18. The second match was our most efficient on Saturday as we overcame the Dinos Raptors 25-16, 25-16. Our final match was against 403 Selects which happened to be the same club that had beaten us in our final match of Day 1 the year previous. The girls overcome some inconsistent play in the first set to win the match 27-25, 25-18.
Day 2 at Nationals is Power Pool day; you either finish top two in the pool or drop out of contention with the best possible finish after that being 9th. Our first match of the morning resulted in a two set victory of the Winnipeg Wesmen by scores of 28-26 and 25-13. We moved on to play another Alberta team, The Panthers, and were reasonably steady to dispatch them by scores of 25-15, 25-5. By winning our first two matches on Sunday, we automatically qualified for the quarter finals the next morning as our opponent for the third match that day also came in with a 2-0 record. Pakmen, the number 1 Ontario and number 1 overall seed, was our next task. We may have surprised them a bit on Day 2 as we took it by scores of 18-25, 25-15 and 15-11. That result gave us the top placing in our Power Pool for the day.
The first match of Day 3 is always the most difficult; it's win or go home with nothing. We were up against The Pandas who were Alberta's provincial champions in 2019. Shock did not play very well but managed to gut out the win 22-25, 25-18 and 15-8 to move on. We headed into the semi-finals and met up with another team that had dealt us a big loss the year before; Halton Hurricanes Black. For the second time in three days we were able to exact a bit of revenge and sent them to the bronze medal match by winning 25-22, 25-19.
We were now in a position to complete our second team goal of the season; claiming The National Championship. Pakmen waited once more and we knew they would be looking to even the score. We came out hard in set one and raced out to a big lead. By the time were were at our 11th point, Pakmen had used both of their time-outs in attempt to settle down and turn the tide a bit. It worked, to a degree, but our lead was too big and we took the first set 25-20. The second set was a complete reversal and Shock had utilized their time outs by the same point as Pakmen had in the first set. We ultimately lost by the same score and headed to a third with nothing separating the two clubs. The third set proved to be a fitting end to the day with back and forth aggression, lead changes and momentum swings throughout. It is what we wanted in a National final; a chance to play and prove ourselves against a great team in a pressure situation. Both teams played as hard as they could until the end with Shock prevailing 17-15. Congratulations to all of the all-stars selected for the tournament but a special congrats to our girls who were chosen - Kendra Andjelic, Carleigh Smith-Banfield and MVP Andi Almonte.
The coaching staff would like to acknowledge the work ethic and cohesiveness of the players as well as the huge support our parent group gave to both the girls and the coaches over the course of the
season. We cannot thank you all enough and it's hard to express just how much you need that to compete and win at a high level.