The season culminating Nationals tournament held in Abbotsford, B.C. this past weekend was an outstanding opportunity for this committed, hard working group of athletes to – live, laugh and love – this game of volleyball, to accomplish goals set and to bond. Our ranking going into Nationals meant several tough matches over pool play on Friday and Saturday as we met what eventually became the top three teams in the country – Manitoba Bisons #1, Quebec Libellules and #3 B.C. Seaside!
Pool play on day one saw the team earning a tough and well deserved 2nd place finish in our pool behind the undefeated Manitoba Bisons.
Regrouped for Saturday’s power pools we again faced a mountain of competition to climb our pool, consisting of #2 in the Country and #1 in their Province, the Quebec Libellules , #3 in the Country and #1 in BC Seaside and #2 in our Province, the NAVC Pandas. Although we battled with Quebec and BC’s #1 teams – and there were moments of brilliance from each of our players- it was not meant to be our win. BUT what these matches did was to well prepare our team for the real match of the day. As it turned out, Saturday provided us with our tourney highlight in the form of our last match of the day against the #2 seed in Alberta, the NAVC Pandas.
The NAVC Pandas versus 403 Selects was this team’s MATCH OF THE SEASON – sending a clear message back to the Province about who to watch for the 2011 Provincial season. Everything this team had done to technically, strategically and mentally develop this season PEAKED in this match. It was clear from the first rally who was going to be control of the match and this team delivered – winning the match from the #2 Alberta team in 2 games straight, (25-23 and 25-13).
Sunday’s sudden death playoff round meant we were out before we had intended to be – with a goal of finishing in 9th place set, we instead finished tied for 11th. After a few tears by all, in true 403 Selects manner this team picked themselves up and focused on their accomplishments this past season.
Behind the scenes the support of the core group of parents (not only for this tournament but for the entire season) also helped create the positive, supportive environment any team needs to be successful. Many of these parents went beyond any ‘normal’ support of a group of athletes and coaches spending personal money, giving of their time and expertise and putting in much effort and their contributions were ABSOLUTELY critical to the success and enjoyment of this weekend and this season and their contribution needs to be acknowledged! None of us would be here without you!
Individually these athletes have been pushed to exceed their own expectations and even those of their coaches and ‘fans’ and have continuously redefined their goals for themselves and the team – the coaching staff could not be prouder of their efforts and commitment and their results this season speak for themselves. The individual athlete’s commitment and dedication to developing themselves, their teammates and their team has made this an incredible and exceptional season not only for themselves but for their teammates, coaches and their fans parents family and friends as well! They have certainly set an excellent example for those younger teams in this Club looking for mentorship and leadership.
As head coach Kelly Gedlaman said in his final huddle of the year – You guys have reached every goal I have set and have exceeded every expectation I have had of you both on and off the court and there is no way I could possible be more proud! Thank-you!
And so ends the season for the 17U 403 Selects Team! Stronger and better and 100% a TEAM! We move on to new goals set for off season development, school, friends we haven’t seen much of, beach volleyball, soccer, work and maybe even some fun in the sun!
Our heartfelt THANKS to everyone involved with this team- we both feel privileged and honoured to be able to be involved with such outstanding athletes and their families!
Shauna and Kelly