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Club News Story

Outlaws claim gold in Pembroke

2014 / 11 / 30

The Outlaws made it two weekends in a row where they finished with a gold medal, this time at the 16U Trillium tournament in Pembroke.

Once the team was formed on signing day on September 27, 2014, this team has prepared to work hard and be resilent both physically and mentally. They learned the importance of competing in the moment and that anything can happen so they have to give everything they have when the situation presents itself as those opportunities may never present themselves again.

Before we can understand the "Oulaws story" we have to revisit the 2014 season. The 2014 edition of the Ambush's story.

The Ambush opened up the season winning gold in Trillium and the right to move to Championship.

The seven returning players tasted bitter defeat last season at the second 15U OVA Competition when all they had to do was win one match to move up to the Premier division. Things started very well for the Ambush in that match where they won 25-12. In the second set things unravelled for them and they lost 22-25 and they lost the heart breaking third set 14-16. Although they were disappointed they went back into training knowing that they had one more opportunity to win the Championship tier and compete in 15U Premier that season. As a bonus, the OVA awarded the Ambush the third tournament of the season.

It was an opportunity for the athletes to reach one of their goals playing at home. The morning started off very well for the Ambush as they handed the top seeded Storm team their only loss of the tournament (that team went on to win the tournament and the right to move to Premier). Unfortunately, during the warm up before their pre-quarter the Ambush lost their only setter to injury and was without a setter for the rest of the day. The team was unable to recover and finished in a tie for 9th (polite OVA speak for dead last). Not only where they not moving up to Premier as they had hoped they were now relegated back down to Trillium. Disappointment was an understatement. 

The Ambush bounced back for the last OVA competition of the year and handily beat the other Trillium teams on their way to a gold. It was now a waiting game for the Ambush. Did they earn enough points to be in the top 32 teams in the province and have the chance to compete in the expanded Division 1 at the 2014 Ontario Championships? Once again another crushing bit of news as the Ambush finished ranked 33rd, that's right one spot from their goal and had to settle for Division 2. 

The Ambush regrouped again and set their goals on winning Division 2 and were well on their way but once again the third set of the quarter final match did them in. They were playing against two teams - the one across the netf rom them and themselves (in their minds) with countless unforced errors. At one point in the third set the Ambush scored more points for the other team because of their errors - all they had to do was put the ball in play on our side to score a point on our error. A third crushing result for the Ambush.

As luck would have it the Ambush were in Division 1 for the Eastern Canadians and they relished that and came out flying defeating the Nova Scotia and Newfoundland provincial champions and New Brunswick #2. Those wins put them in a power pool with Durham Attack (defending National Champions and themselves coming from a disappointing Provincals), Tigers (NS #2) and Kingston Pegasus.  The Ambush came out strong against Pegasus winning the first set 25-16, came out flat and lost 20-25 in the second was up 11-6 in the third and lost 13-15. That meant that they had to beat the Tigers and Durham Attack to finish top two and hoped that Pegasus lost to the same two teams. 

Determined the Ambush next played the Tigers and beat them 25-14 and 25-16 while Durham beat Pegasus 25-18 and 25-16. The Ambush nervously watched the Tigers versus Pegasus match with the Pegasus coming out ahead 25-16 and 25-15. Pegasus was now 2-1 in pool play. The Ambush had to beat Durham in two sets and force a three way tie for first in order to even have a chance at moving on.

The Ambush played the way that they were capable of playing, a fast, hard hitting and  error-free game against a top team in Ontario and Canada and pushed Durham to two tight sets of 25-21 and 25-20. The Ambush had leads in both sets but not having played the higher calibre teams all season they were not at the same compete level as the more experienced Durham team was. With that loss the best the team could do was finish 9th. Although we lost the match against Durham it was a very satisfying loss as we and more importantly they knew we belonged amongst the Premier teams in Ontario. 

For those that have played a National Championship in Sherbrooke you will understand that any where you go to eat you have to wait and we are not talking normal wait times either. Immediately after the match the Ambush and their parents went to the Dairy Queen and the Durham team was in front of us in the the line and they told us how much they enjoyed playing us and wondered where we were all season as we had seen them at a 16U competition earlier in the season. Although the line up was long we didn't have enough time to get into our tales of misfortune.

That match against Durham along with our semi-final match against the host Sherbrooke team the next day was by far the starting point for the change with this year's edition of the Outlaws. We were down in both sets against Sherbrooke in their packed gym and never gave up and won both sets.

Why the long story? We need to tell you where we came from so that you can understand where we want to go. Although this past weekend's gold was appreciated and celebrated it was simply a small step on the way to our ultimate goal of competing in the highest tier possible in Ontario. Next step is the Championship tier and as fate would have it the same Durham Attack team suffered a set back and is also playing in Championship. This team qualifed for Premier at the 17U age group and we will have our work cut out for us. We wouldn't want it any other way.

We will lose with diginity to any team and learn from it but we refuse to introduce a third team into the match this year. The Outlaws are working towards a goal and that is to train and compete in the moment as the opportunity may never present itself again. A tough lesson the seven returning players learned last year and share with our 4 new team mates daily.

As for our Pembroke results, Samantha Balys had a very strong tournament for the Outlaws earning the team's hard hat for her performance.

Scores from 16U Trillium (Pembroke)


2-0 win over EOVC (25-4, 25-10)

2-0 win over Trailblazers (25-20, 25-10)

2-1 quarter final win over Fusion (25-16, 23-25, 15-1)

2-1 semi final win over Northumberland (25-11, 16-25 and 15-11)

2-0 final win over Fusion Explosion (25-20, 25-19)

“ There is always room at the top. ”
– Daneil Webster
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