In its inaugural season, Leaside 18U Girls won the OVA Tier 1 Provincial Championship this past Sunday at RIM Park, defeating last year’s provincial champion, Forest City Volleyball Club 25-17, 25-19 in the final.
Leaside was seeded seventh going into the Championship weekend, but after winning two of three matches on both Friday and Saturday, was positioned to make its title run on Sunday.
In the quarter-final on Sunday morning, Leaside defeated Storm 25-12, 25-12 and then in the semi-final defeated Durham Attack 17U in a hard-fought three-set match 25-23, 23-25 and 15-11. Those wins set up a final match with Forest City, a team that Leaside had previously lost to twice in the 2011-2012 season.
In the final, a combination of strong serving, good passing and great hitting, especially from tournament All-Stars Ali Woolley and Caleigh Cruickshank led Leaside to its first victory over Forest City and the provincial championship.
The Leaside 18U girls team was made up of girls that had played on five different teams in the previous season. Four of those teams did not have 18U girls teams this season, so the coaches had to bring together very quickly a group of talented girls and make them into a cohesive team. As well, the team had to play its first two tournaments in Trillium and Championship and only had two Premier tournaments at the end of the year to improve its seeding.
However, the girls also improved their game considerably after going 5-3 in the President Day’s tournament in Chicago in February, and 5-1 in the Best of the West in Calgary on Easter weekend.
Head Coach and Club Director John Child and his assistants Ian Eibbitt and Christian Redmann worked tirelessly with the girls on their volleyball skills and court strategies.
Finally, the eleven girls on the team; Kristen Bartmann, Marissa Chin, Caleigh Cruickshank, Brooke Eibbitt, Windemere Jarvis, Abi Moody, Mari Pikkov, Ali Shamie, Becky Wilson, Ali Woolley and Emma Young, deserve all the credit for believing in themselves and trusting and supporting each other in order to attain their goal of winning a provincial championship.