At the Festival Fiesta Classic in Phoenix, Arizona there were many valuable lessons deeply rooted into the 15’s, lessons of fortitude, courage, team work and good sportsmanship. The girls represented themselves well as ambassadors for Canada and 403 Selects Volleyball Club, showing their good character on and off the court.

Before the start of tournament play, the girls had an opportunity for team bonding with the other 403 Selects teams. A hike up Camelback Mountain was an adventure that challenged the girls to be fearless as they traversed narrow trails with steep drop offs, hugged the cliff side to mange the path and at times climbed on hands and knees.

The first day of the Festival Fiesta Classic tournament play, held at the University of Phoenix Stadium, saw the 15’s win their first three matches of pool play. They played Avalanche (Phoenix,  Arizona) in the first game, winning in two sets. Up next, the very powerful Juggernauts (Denver, Colorado) gave the 403 15’s a sense of the challenges that lay ahead of them in the tournament. The 403’s lost the first set, but dug in deep to take the match in three sets. The third match opponents were the Arizona Storm 15 Strike. 403 Selects won the game in two sets. Finishing day one, the 15’s won 6 out of 7 sets played.

The second day matches of the tournament were held at Independence High School. The 403 15’s were challenged to step up their game. The first match was played against Fortitude Black (Glendale, Arizona). The 403 15’s won the first set. This game proved to be very exciting as it set the tone for the hard battles that the 15’s faced that day. 403 Selects won the first match in three sets, then went on for another 3 sets against Club Cactus Juniors (Tucson, Arizona) which resulted in their first loss of the tournament. It was the third game of the day which made a significant impact on the girls. The Shonto Starlings (Shonto, Arizona) were an amazing team. The 403 15’s were fueled to play at a whole new level. They were defeated in two sets with one set reaching an amazing 31-29 score, but it was post game that made for some wonderful memories.

The Shonto Starlings and their families invited our girls to pose for pictures and asked if they might sing Oh Canada, and they proudly sang wholeheartedly. Picture taking even continued in the parking lot. This was a wonderful display of true sportsmanship and respect that our girls will remember for a life time. At the end of day two, the 403 Selects 15U’s were set to play in the Bronze flight.

On the third day of the tournament, the 15’s learned what it means to reach deep within, to test physical and mental toughness. They experienced what it means to sustain confidence in the midst of grueling competition. The first match vs. Revolution 15 Elite (Scottsdale, Arizona) went to three sets, setting a high level of competition for the day. 403 Selects won in the third set with an  outstanding 16-14 finish. The second match against Texas Revolution (El Paso, Texas) also went to three sets with another 16-15 win for the 403 Selects. The final game for the bronze medal was up against the Juggernauts from Denver whom they played on day one. As the theme for the day was digging deep and mental focus, this game was no different. Not once, but twice the Selects fought back from 19-24 deficits to win 26-24! The 403 Selects 15U girls took the game in two sets and brought home a well deserved medal as winners of the bronze flight to Canada.

Many thanks for an outstanding tournament and memories to last a life time for the girls!