Our girls traveled to Bishop Dubourg High School to compete in the Dubourg Classic this Sunday. The girls were thrown a mountain of adversity from Coach Camrey having to stay home with bronchitis, to missing a player who was attending her brother’s first confirmation, all the way to GPS problems. Three of our girls missed their 8:00 am arrival deadline due to bad directions from their parent’s phones. The girls were able to overcome all of this and played their best of the season!
We started off very slow and did not look like the team we have come to be at this point in the season. Missing serves, not cheering each other on, and letting balls hit the floor led to a disappointing 8-19 score in the first set of pool play. In between sets, I (Coach Travis) decided to let the girls talk to each other to figure out the problems instead of trying to do it from them. I was incredibly pleased with the words I heard from everyone. Yes, I may have have been eavesdropping. The words I remember most was from middle Claire Dunivan who said “We are fine, it is just the first set. We just need to be really loud all the time, call for the ball, and don’t let anything hit the ground easy.” She took the words right out of my mouth and the girls took the court ready to go.
We won the next set to split with Imperial Intensity and kept up the momentum from there finishing pool play 5-1 with wins over Rockwood 11 Blue and Mid State Force. The girls received the 2nd seed in gold due to the split with Intensity where they had a greater point differential. The second court was waiting for us for 45 minutes so right after our win we jumped into gold to play Rockwood 10-Mizuno who was 6-0 in Pool A.
One thing coaches have been saying in practice is to control things we can control and not worry about things we cannot control. At 11 years old, this usually points to bad calls from the refs. An 11 year old line judge often has problems with in and out and earlier in the year we let bad calls upset us. However, every play in gold where it was a bad call the girls came together and got the next point. We are very proud of how quickly they have been able to make this transition. The girls won in straight sets over Rockwood to set up our first championship match!
We would play Blue Steel 11 who defeated Intensity in three sets. Our girls could hardly contain their excitement waiting for the championship game. We came out ready to play and beat Blue Steel in straight sets 19-11, 19-17.
Serving, as always, plays a huge role in this level of play. This was by far the most consistent our serving has been all year. Grace Malawy and Megan Knobeloch were 100% on the day. Mackenzie Heberer overcame a couple early misses and was perfect in bracket play. While our final three, Ava Waltenberger, Claire, and Jena Holder only missed one serve each all bracket play. This change has happened almost overnight. Both Ava and Grace have worked hard in practice to improve their serves. Just two weeks ago both were serving roughly 50% in practice but now it is a surprise to see them miss!
I cannot say enough how proud I am of these girls. After talking to parents, it is evident that every player has come so far along this year and this is a completely different team from even a month ago. On the first day of the President’s Day tournament we had girls who would not cheer, get upset at themselves and even worse get upset at their teammates. Since then, we have become great teammates who focus on bringing each other up every play and never bringing each other down. The changes have been night and day since then in all aspects. Every practice we have been energetic and excited to play. Every set, win or lose, our girls have played their hardest and had fun doing it. We have marked off one of our goals and won our first tournament and the looks on the girls faces has made this entire season worth while. We have always said winning or losing isn’t the important part of this game. What’s important is to play hard, learn something, and have fun doing it. However, winning is always an added bonus! The girls played hard and brought home a winner for Camrey and Jadyn who really wanted to be there. The girls also got to celebrate with some Ted Drew’s afterwards!
We will have two practices then travel to TESL on Saturday for a March Madness tournament to try and win two tournaments in a row!