This past weekend saw our girls take a short trip down Hwy2 to Okotoks to the Crescent Point Fieldhouse, an excellent new facility, for the PEAK Volleyballl Club Bantam Tournament. The weekend saw a variety of teams make the trip to the Fieldhouse including a few u13 teams looking for some late season experience against the older girls and the full game format instead of the triple-ball that they are used to.

Day one had us pooled with the hosts PEAK u14, Canada West Blue and the WHAM Warriors. The first game against PEAK saw a solid game with the first six girls on court settled in for the weekend with a solid 25-21 win. The second group of girls took to the court for the second set and were a little more nervous which showed up in the serve receive with a number of errors allowing PEAK to take an early lead. Some quick substitutions at 15 points from Coach Mike helped settle the team down and they fought back to take the game at the wire 25-23. The second match had us face a modified Canada West team who came out fighting hard from the start but some disciplined play by the 403 girls saw them through for a comfortable 25-17 win. The second set had our girls bring out their strong serves which proved too much for the Canada West girls and a push from Kirsty on the back line helped the girls take a 10pt run and seal the game 25-5. The final pool game brought up the WHAM Warriors and we started a little uncertainly with nobody really wanting the take the ball and take control of the set letting WHAM take an early lead. But, like many games before, our girls rallied in the middle of the set fighting back to level the game at 18-all. Once again we took to the service line and with strong overall play from the girls in offence and defence we didn’t relinquish the ball taking the first set 25-18. In the final pool set we, once again, relinquished an early lead but quickly found our rhythm and traded points with the WHAM girls until the final 5 points where we stretched out and took the set, the match and first place in the pool 25-21.

The crossover had us paired against the girls from ACE volleyball. Playing this program for the first time, the girls were motivated, taking the first set to 6 points and in the second set they only relinquished 12 points in two sets of solid volleyball.

Sunday morning gave us a later start once again facing the girls from the WHAM Warriors who had overcome one of the Canada West teams in their crossover game and were looking to see if they could change the result from the pool match. The first set had our girls bring their strong serves out from the beginning, unsettling the WHAM girls but a rarely seen call had the spectators wondering what was going on when the girls were penalized on two serves in close succession losing the ball and the point – screening was the call; this where the referee deems that the serving team are intentionally impeding the view of the receiving team with an end of increasing their chances of a successful serve, a rarely used call as it can be very subjective one – a quick word from coach Mike on the bench had the girls adjust their setup and we moved on to a 25-14 win. The second set had the Warriors start in a more determined fashion, yet again seeing our serve receive stretched, but the girls kept their nerve as always and fought back again with a combination of strong serving and presence at the net taking the set 25-19.

The semi-finals saw us once again meet an opponent from our pool matches in PEAK, the first set was a classic example of strong serves coupled with an early establishment of the middle giving the PEAK girls little opportunity to get their game going and a quick set with only 7 dropped points was the result. A more spirited second set had the PEAK girls dig deep, making our team work hard for every point, which they did, closing out a tight set 25-23 and setting up a first meeting with Seven Persons Wolves in the Finals.

This was a match that many were waiting for seeing the two Tier 1 teams meet each other for the first time; the first set was another fantastic display of serving and dominance at the net totally unsettled the Wolves and it took them nearly half the set to settle themselves down by which time 403 had the set well under control and finished with a flourish 25-15. The Wolves restarted the second set as they finished the first, composed. It was a tight set from the start with both teams trading serves and attacks but the Wolves played a solid game and held out for a narrow win 25-23. In the final set the Wolves maintained the pressure from the service line testing our girls receive and finding it unable to mount an effective offence and gain ground back on their opponents eventually losing the 3rd set 15-8 and claiming 2nd place overall.

Next week sees our girls in the Alberta Provincials Tournament in Calgary, one that will see us revisit the matchup with Seven Persons Wolves in our pool games on Saturday.