Another trip to Nationals, another bronze medal for the SHOCK 16's this season! After a long year of training in the gym, competing every other weekend, and a long 3 day battle in Calgary, this group defended their Bronze medal from Nationals last year, and clawed their way all weekend to earn another spot on the podium for an All-Manitoba sweep of the medals in Division 1, Tier 1 play.
After a disappointing finish to the Manitoba club season where SHOCK dropped the semi-final match at provincials in a very well executed match by Dynamo, the girls shifted their focus to the national stage, and worked hard in the gym for the last two weeks of training to be prepared to compete against the best competition this side of the Ontario border. By finishing 3rd at provincials, day 1 would be no easy task in a pool with the Alberta champions, and two other competitive groups from AB and BC. After a shift in the line up, SHOCK came out strong to begin the weekend with a very solid performance against ACE of Clubs (AB), winning in straight sets to start the tournament. The next match featured the Alberta champs, Canuck Black, in what would be the most important match of the day. A tight battle in the first set set the stage for SHOCK to climb back after giving up an early run of points to win 25-23. The MB side then took control in the 2nd set, executing their game plan flawlessly and running away with a 25-16 victory over a very skilled and hard working group. After a bumpy start in the 3rd match of the day, SHOCK rebounded to win the next two sets easily, and accomplished their goal of finishing 3-0 on day 1.
It only gets harder at Nationals, and day 2 provided a chance for SHOCK to hit the floor against Dynamo again after losing to them in the semi-final just two weeks prior. After winning the first match in power pools, SHOCK executed their own game plan to perfection against a very determined and strong willed group, exacting a bit of revenge for the loss at provincials, defeating Dynamo by scores of 25-9 and 25-18. Match #3 of the day saw a real TEAM effort, as the group went down 7-0 to begin the first set, but were relieved by some talent coming off the bench to help steer things back in the right direction. Olivia Weremy had 6 kills in the first set to pace the offence, and Abi Almonte, Mia Hildebrandt and Selva Planincic all came off the bench to have a huge impact on the outcome of the match. Great serving from Abi, and booming kills from Mia and Selva helped SHOCK stay perfect on move to 3-0 on day 2 of the competition.
Day 3 had SHOCK facing off against the Pandas from AB, a much more physical team. After dropping the first set, and being at match point (24-22) in the second set, the girls showed tremendous fight and earned a second set victory, only to follow it up with a solid 3rd set effort to win the match in 3 sets, and head back to the semi-final vs the Jr. Bisons for the second year in a row. The Jr. Bisons were again too much for SHOCK on this day as they earned a 2-0 win to move to the gold medal, while SHOCK awaited the outcome of the other match to see who their opponent would be. In the Bronze medal match, SHOCK came out flying vs the Cougars (AB), and played a very disciplined match with contributions from all areas of the floor to earn their second straight bronze medal at the National Championships.
Congratulations to all of the athletes from this fantastic group for a well earned break this summer! Special acknowledgement to Victoria Duester who earned the tournament All-Star award for the girls this weekend. Great finish to the season for the 3 year SHOCK veteran, congrats Victoria!
Enjoy the summer off, and we will see you back in the gym next season!
SHOCK Volleyball Club