By Cliff Woods, with photos by Maryanne Ambroziak
The 2015-2016 OVA season for the EOVC Air Force 16U girls team came to a heartbreaking end this past Sunday in Waterloo, losing a tough match in three sets to LVC Fire from London. The girls deserved a better fate as they left everything they had on the court.
The growth of this group of young athletes has been phenomenal. Starting way back in October this group was relatively new to club volleyball. Some had played the previous season, albeit not as starters. They all worked extremely hard to develop their skills and passion for the game. Each tournament they were a little better and more poised. Their talents were starting to show and leaders started to emerge.
This past weekend at the 16U Ontario Championships these players impressed the hell out this old coach. They played with toughness and grit. They were never really out of any match and really did deserve to have a better record. They seemed to finally understand they could play this game and they could also be winners.
As the coach of these girls, this transformation is the thing I am most proud of. They still had those “what’s going on” moments, but those “Wow, these girls are really good” moments were much more evident.
Everyone contributed to the success of the weekend. No, it was not a championship medal weekend, but it was a “we will be back next year and you better watch out” weekend.
It was a true pleasure and an honour to coach these girls and to see the growth in them physically and mentally. I look forward next season to do it all over again.
I would like to thank Kristen Drouin for helping as an assistant coach this season. Her knowledge and passion for the game really helped these girls this year. I would like to thank Maryanne Ambroziak for arranging our accommodations for the weekend and acting as one of our team photographers. Thank you to Rachel Code for also taking and posting pictures from the weekend. And lastly a big thank you to all of the parents for your support of your daughters. You get them to practices and tournaments, you are there to cheer, to support and to be the shoulder to cry on. As I always say, without you we don’t get to do this.
If you get a chance to touch a ball this summer girls, do it. If you get a chance to attend a volleyball camp, go. I look forward to September to show everyone how good you all can be.