Well after going 3-0 in day one, and 2-1 in day two, my daughter Cookie and the Ottawa Fusion 14U girls team went into the elimination round with some pretty high expectations on Sunday. The first match had them dumping the Tornadoes in straight sets 25-14 and 25-16. A good start to the day.
Their second match was against the South County Bandits from Essex and the roll continued with a 25-14 and 25-15 straight set victory.
This set up a repeat showdown against the Leaside Lightning. The team that had given the Fusion their only loss of the tourney a day earlier. Leaside is coached by Canadian Olympian and bronze medalist John Child. Leaside is one tough team. The Lightning were flawless in a first set trouncing of the Fusion 25-9. The Fusion were demoralized. The smiles were gone. The heads were hanging. They were in a very dark place.
The second set started out with more of the same and the Leaside Lightning took a commanding 19-7 lead. When up to serve stepped the youngest Fusion player. Barely 13 years old and with nerves of steel, Bekah went on an 11 serve streak to bring the game back to 19-18. Halfway through the streak you could see the spirit returning to the Fusion as if it was being sapped directly from the Lightning. The teams traded a few points but the comeback was well on it’s way and the second set was taken by the Fusion 25-22 in an amazing show of spirit, resilience and determination.
The trend didn’t change much in the third set as the Fusion were rolling at this point. When all was said and done, the tiebreaker went to the Fusion 15-6. In what might be called the comeback of the tournament the Fusion went from being outscored 44-16 to outscoring the Lightning 33-9. The comeback was complete and the Fusion were off to the Gold Medal match against the number 1 seed in Divison 2, the North Bay Blizzard.
Both games in the final were great displays of skill, power and poise, but in the end Cookie and the Fusion won 25-20 and 25-18 to take the Division 2 Gold Medal!!
While waiting for the medal ceremony, the team was chasing down the Ottawa 14U Fusion boys to see how they had done in their bronze medal match (which they won) and we were asked if we wanted another shot with the PM. Clearly the girls gleefully accepted.
The award ceremony had all the parents gleaming but there was one more award to be presented. Each team awards one player with the Award of Excellence which was voted on by the players and coaches. It goes to the player who best displays a combination of traits including spirit, leadership, poise, skill, perserverence, etc. I had a tear in my eye when the coach called Cookie up to receive the award.
There wasn’t a prouder father.
The icing on the cake.