Selects 14U Take Silver at Nationals

The Peel Selects began May by winning Silver at the National U14 East Championships — Division 2, tier 2 — competing against teams from Ontario, Quebec, and the Maritimes.

Going into the three-day tournament, the Selects were ranked 20 out of 24 teams in their division.

After first day jitters, the athletes improved with each match and finished fourth in their pool.

On Saturday, now in power pools, the team was ranked third in their four-team pool. Strong serving by Jordana Tramontozzi and stellar defence by Meghan Sanderson led the Selects to a victory against the higher ranked Maverick Rattlers: 25-21 and 25-23.

In their second match, they played the Phoenix Burn. The team had a strong first game, led by Jazmine Purakal and Feyi Alaka, and won 25-13. In the second game, they could not fight back from an early deficit and lost 25-19, setting up the third and decisive game. Led by a run of eight serves in a row by Jordana Tramontozzi, the team easily won 15-2.

Playing the lower ranked Cornwall Vikings Aesir, the Selects, led by Callie Fenske on defence and setter Julia Beamish, won 25-7 and 25-17, which secured first place in the pool and moved them up one tier for the playoffs on Sunday. The team also had strong performances by Shania Ortiz and Altasia Taylor.

Now a full tier higher than when they started, the Selects faced the number 1 ranked squad, Aftershock from Quebec, on Sunday in a win-or-go-home playoff round. After losing the first game 25-19, the Selects had to win the next two in order to move on. A hard-fought second match, led by the heavy hits of AJ Maskell, gave the team a 25-20 win, setting up a third game with the winner moving on. In a back and forth final, the Selects won a close 15-10 contest, led by the blocking and hitting of Cheri Chukwu.

In the semifinal, the Selects faced the Clarington Grizzlies, a team that had defeated them at last month’s Provincial Championships, where the Grizzlies went on to win gold. After a strong start, the Selects were able to hold off the Grizzlies 25-19 in the first game. In the second, the Selects fell behind early, but were able to fight back and win 25-18, allowing them to advance to the final.

Enthused by their win over the Grizzlies, the girls faced the Northumberland Breakers Elite for gold in the final medal round. Although they played well and forced the Breakers to a third game, they had to be satisfied with the Silver medal, losing 22-25, 25-17, 5-15. Overall, it was a thrill to win their first medal at the national level!

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