By Martin Boyce
Finishing a step off the podium left a sour taste for the Maverick Bandits 14-and-under boys’ team that competed in front of a hometown crowd at the May 5-7 Canada East Volleyball Championships at Carleton University.
The provincial silver medallists’ up-and-down performance over the course of the tournament was reflective of their entire season, says their coach, Paul Rainville.
“We’ve been a team that’s been like that all season,” he signals. “We had a hard time having consistent play.”
Seeded 3rd, the Mavs were 6-0 through the preliminary and power-pool rounds on the tournament’s first two days. After a poor first-set loss to Drakkar Noir in the quarterfinals, the Mavs found themselves on the hot seat.
Down 14-20 in the second set and facing elimination, parents began making plans for an early dinner, but their boys managed to overcome the deficit and the momentum to prevail 10-25, 25-22, 15-11.
Despite a gutsy effort in the first set of the semi-finals, the Mavs were ultimately defeated in straight sets by the eventual champions from Montreal’s south shore, the Noir et Or.
They couldn’t rally for the bronze medal match against their Pakmen provincial counterparts after the demoralizing semi-final loss, falling to the Ontario champs 15-25, 16-25.
“Pakmen was in the exact same situation as us,” notes Rainville. “We came in ranked 3rd and, unfortunately, played one rank lower. But all in all, it’s been a really good season.”
The Samuel-Genest high school teacher/coach says that he hopes his team learns from this experience and the boys keep improving as volleyball players and individuals.
“It’s all about getting better as a person and using sport in real life situations,” Rainville underlines. “This team has been quite phenomenal in that aspect.”
The Maverick 15U boys jumped one step higher on the Eastern Canadian podium, scoring a silver medal at their May 12-14 tournament in Waterloo.