This weekend was AVA Premier #2, hosted in Edmonton, Alberta. We began very early on Saturday morning playing St Albert Sturgeon Volleyball Club; we won in three 24-26, 25-17 and 17-15. After this match, we made a quick switch of venues – driving to the impressive facility at Leduc. Here we played two more very tough matches in our pool, first against Taber WHAM! losing 21-25, 26-24 and 10-15. The second match was against NOOK and we won 23-25, 25-23, and 15-13. Our playoff crossover match was against the team from Dawson Creek – with just six very gritty players. We had to earn every point, winning 26-24 and 25-21. Our girls returned to their hotel both sore and exhausted – enough time for pizza and straight to bed!

We began our next morning at Saville Centre, up against Queens Ultimate whom we had met and defeated in three close matches in our last AVA quarter final. This time however, we were not victorious, losing 25-16, 23-25 and 10-15. Our next match was immediately after this one, against NOOK once again. Although we had beaten them the day before, we could not repeat it, losing 22-25, 25-14, and 12-15. Our third and final match, against LVC did not end our day well, losing 20-25 and 18-25.

This AVA was not our best performance, and although we had many synergistic moments – we could not bring together enough of these moments to close the sets out with a win. Our girls ended their very emotional up and down weekend with some tears and a rejuvenating group hug followed by the love and attention of parents as they recovered in the car ride back to Calgary. Although our team performance is not what they had hoped for or are capable of – there is a silver lining with every defeat or disappointment. This experience is an excellent opportunity to learn from mistakes, to highlight areas of improvement and most important, to identify and build the unique character, inner strength, and collective commitment that will be needed to come together as a group to meet their common goal.

“Somewhere behind the athlete you’ve become, the hours of practice, the coaches who push you, and the fans who cheer for you, is the little girl who fell in love with the sport and never looked back. Play for her.” ~ Anonymous