Monday, January 12, 2015

Power #1

Yesterday was the first tournament for Kendall's 2014 14 National team's season. These are the monthly tournaments that rank teams and give them a chance to compete against others, and potentially aiming for a national championship. Last year Kendall's team went to the National tournament, one of 3 from Colorado, and it was a great experience for her.

This year she's on the second team for her club, and they aren't expected to do as well, but you never know. We had no idea what to think of their team or how they'd compete against all the other 14s. They played well against the first team in an internal match, and though they lost, a little more mental toughness, a few more plays, and they might have won.

So we were nervous and excited. Kendall coming off a concussion, having no idea how the players were ranked on her team and where or how much she'd play. It was something.

The first rankings had us in the 5/6 division with 15 other teams. There are (I think) 4 teams in division 1, and 8 teams in division 2, where our club's top team is. Then there are 16 teams in 3/4 and 16 in 5/6. I didn't look below that and hoped we wouldn't find out.

They day started way too early, with us getting up at 5:30 and driving to the NW side of Denver. The girls refereed first, and then warmed up. It's always neat to see them drill, and then line up to wave to the audience before the game.

Photo Jan 11, 11 02 17 AM

Kendall didn't start, or even play the first set of the first match. That made us a little nervous, but we weren't sure what to think. Their coaches (who are great) have been using an 8 player rotation in each of the scrimmages, meaning 2 girls don't play. Kendall has been an outside hitter, so we weren't sure how this would go.

Photo Jan 11, 11 03 03 AM

She got into the second match, and did some outside hitting. They subbed for her on serves, so she was in for only 3 rotations before going out. Two different lineups, and two different games. The girls won both of the first two sets easily, taking the match. Not much competition.

Photo Jan 11, 11 04 03 AM

The girls got a break, and then played their second match. They had more competition, but did well in the first game. The team made it close, but they won somewhat easily at 25-22. However what was more interesting is that Kendall spent time in the middle hitter spot. She was active, jumping to block, and tipping some balls. She had a few hits, and saved a few balls as well.

Photo Jan 11, 11 21 35 AM (1)

The second game had the girls falling apart. Almost every one of them had a bad game, and all in the same game. It was close, but they lost, which was disappointing.

The third was the short one, and after trading a few points, they got ahead and never looked back, winning easily and setting up a third match with the other team in their pool that had won their two matches.

Photo Jan 11, 11 11 19 AM

We weren't sure how this would go. Both teams had identical results against the other teams. 2-0 in matches, 4-1 in sets. Kendall looked great in the middle, and when the first set was played, she had her three rotations in the middle front, but also served a few. She was very active, and ended up playing most of both games and even serving the win.

The girls came together, communicated, made few mistakes, and really dominated. They ended up winning both of the two sets to be first in their pool. With so many teams, that set up a crossover game with the winner of another pool.

The girls were excited, and it was great to see them celebrating together so often after each point. Kendall's team did this last year, but not as closely or happily as this team. It looks like they're better bonded already, though certainly all the girls here are older.

Photo Jan 11, 9 43 50 AM

The last match was a single game to 25. Girls were nervous, but they went out and traded a few points early on with the other team. Then they went on a run. Hustling, making plays, good placement in hits, and really running away with the game. It wasn't close, something like 25-13 at the end.

Quite a difference from last year where we lost all three matches in the first tournament. This time, a win, and their first pins.

Photo Jan 11, 2 55 55 PM

We'll see what happens next weekend. They should move up a division to 3/4, and I'm starting to wonder how far they can go. They are playing together well, trusting each other, and looking good.

No comments: