Archive for the 2010 Boys 14U Black Category

Attack Opens Provincials With a Bang – Winning Both 14U Titles

Posted in 2010 Boys 14U Black, 2010 Girls 14U Arif on April 18, 2010 by DurhamAttack

The OVA kicked off Provincials this past weekend with a great 13/14u tournament that drew rave reviews from all involved.  It was a great weekend all around.  Prime Minister Harper, unable to travel to Poland due to flight restrictions, was “on standby” for a few days, and with an unexpected hole in his calendar he was able to support his son’s Ottawa Fusion team and meet hundreds of our Ontario athletes.

Competition was tough all weekend, especially on Day Two when the new diagonal seeding system made for excellent volleyball that was a great training ground for our athletes.  Strong performances from every player earned our Durham Attack teams the playoff berths we’d been building towards all season. 

Durham Attack Boys Win 14U Provincial Championship 

Our 14U boys team continues a rejuvenation of our boys program at Durham Attack, with two Attack alumni, Michael May and Ryan Macintosh, dedicatd to building the boys program they played for. The team had a strong development philosophy the entire season and entered provincials with a very deep roster, and in fact it took strong performances from every player over the three days to achieve their goal.  

The 14u Boys final four featured four great teams that had traded gold and silver medals with each other all season – Pakmen, Ottawa Fusion, Niagara Rapids and Durham Attack.  Both semis were three set matches in loud gyms full of screaming fans.  Attack lost their first set to Fusion 15-25, but roared back to take set two and the tiebreaker over Fusion 15-9.  Rapids stunned the big Pakmen team, winning 15-8 in their tiebreaker. 

In their Bronze Medal match, Fusion bounced back to avenge a Day Two loss to Pakmen with two 25-20 wins.  In the Gold medal match the Attack boys faced a strong Niagara Rapids team that they had defeated 2-0 the previous day.  This time around the Rapids were determined to settle the score and waged a see-saw battle.  

Our friends on Ottawa Fusion, with their Bronze medal secured, came over with Prime Minister Harper’s contingent to cheer our boys on (thanks Fusion!!!)  Attack narrowly took the first set and lost the second, but came out strong in the tiebreaker, took a commanding lead and never looked back, again winning 15-9.  

2010 Boys 14U Provincial Champions – Durham Attack 14u with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and OVA President Kristine Drakich

Very tough competition, and an honour to win over these teams.  Though Durham Attack is a frequent winner on the girl’s side, this is its first boy’s provincial championship since 2004.  Along with a 14U silver medal in 2009, its a sign that our developmental programs are beginning to bear fruit. 

Durham Attack Arif Wins 14U Provincial Championship 

The 14U Girls division featured 67 teams and some of the strongest in the country.  We ran two 14U girls teams this year, coached by Arif Nathoo (recently retired York University women’s coach) and Attack veteran Chris Williamson.  Both teams had a very successful season, and 14U Arif capped their Ontario season with a stellar performance to win the 14U Championship.

Durham Attack 14U Arif - 2010 Girls 14U Provincial Champions

   The 14U Girls division also had some very tough competition, with a few teams pushing 14U Arif to their limit.  They faced Georgetown Impact in the final, and it was a match marked by long rallies.  But a long season of 14U play and extra tournaments gave them the hard-earned composure they needed to bounce back from a first set loss, and like the boys they won a 15-9 tiebreaker to earn the Gold medal. 

 Next Up – Nationals

All our 14U teams head next to Nationals in Sherbrooke on May 6-8, where they hope to add to the eleven National Championships our teams have earned the past four seasons. 


Continuing our tradition of bringing all our teams together at Provincials and Nationals, we’ve posted all our Provincials pix in our 2010 Provincials Scrapbook. 


14U Boys Win Gold at 14U Open

Posted in 2010 Boys 14U Black on March 27, 2010 by DurhamAttack

Our 14U boys had a good day in Kingston today, winning Gold at their final tournament before provincials to make it three gold and two silver medals at their five 14U tournaments this season.

The day started out slowly without much challenge in pool play and the semi-finals.  But the final was a great match against Ottawa Fusion.  The boys won the first set and were up 24-21 in the second but Fusions scraped out a win.  Fusion was up 8-2 at the change in the tiebreaker but Attack came back strong and won  eight points to go up 11-8, then traded points to win 15-12 (or thereabouts, its been a long day).

Way to go boys!  What a great finish as you head into Provincials and Nationals.

14U Boys Win Challenge Cup Silver

Posted in 2010 Boys 14U Black on January 31, 2010 by DurhamAttack

Our 14U boys had another great tournament, adding a Silver medal to the two Golds they’ve won so far this season.   On a very cold Saturday, January 30th, the players and spectators heated up the spacious four gym setting for the Challenge Cup, in Stouffville.  Our boys came out strong, taking the first match in a fairly dominating fashion, winning 3 straights sets.  After an hours rest, they continued their winning ways to complete the pool round with a 2 & 0 record, taking them into the quarter-finals against Markham Black. In relatively short order, Durham Attack took two sets, thereby seating them into a semi-final contest against the Storm Fury.

This semi-final tested the skills of both teams and a win each brought about a third and deciding game.  The spectators were treated to a very thrilling match, as both teams came up with their “A” game and neither one backed down for a moment, resulting in a very challenging, back and forth competition.  Durham Attack prevailed with a final score of 21-19.

The gold medal round saw a rematch with Pakmen. Yes, a big, talented team! It was a tough match and while our boys played their hearts out, on this day the gold medal went to Pakmen.  

While second place, and the silver medal, might not seem a victory –  just ask our Canadian Juniors -our boys should have no regrets about their performance at this tournament.  They now know the challenge is there and I have no doubt we will see strong play from all the players through the rest of the season.  Congratulations on a fine performance.  It is going to be a fun season!

Its good to have a goal.  Our guys now have their sights set on what they need to achieve to win at the next outing.

Gary Swinden

Attack Boys Are Golden in Prime Minister Harper’s Eyes

Posted in 2010 Boys 14U Black on January 10, 2010 by DurhamAttack


Our 14u boys went on their first road trip of their club volleyball careers this past weekend.  They travelled to Ottawa for a tough tournament, and they again emerged with the Gold medal, their second in two outings.

Attack 14U Boys with Prime Minister Stephen Harper

It turned out to be a special weekend for the boys and their parents.  Not only did they go on their first road trip together, which is so important for team bonding and development, but they also had a chance to meet our Prime Minister.  Their gold medal match was watched by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his wife Laureen, whose son plays on the Ottawa Fusion team that battled us in pool play and in the finals.

As parents we relish the time we are able to spend with our kids, cheering them on, in the sports that they love.  As we know the Harper family did today.  With their busy schedules their time is extremely limited.  So we truly appreciate the time that Prime Minister Harper spent with our boys after the match, getting to know them and taking some photos with our parents. 

Prime Minister Harper meeting our boys

And we wish the Ottawa Fusion team the best of luck in the future – they are a great team and we’re sure we will meet many times this season.

More info and photos within a day or two…

Larry Skelly

Boys 14U Win Gold at Provincial Cup – *New Video*

Posted in 2010 Boys 14U Black on December 12, 2009 by DurhamAttack

Our 14U boys started off the season with a bang, at the Provincial Cup in Woodbridge.  With the triple-ball format the entire team rotates through the line-up, and each player sets when they arrive in position 2, so this was a huge win for the team, a true “total team effort”.  Every player had a big part in this win.

14U Boys Win Provincial Cup Gold


And what a facility, probably the nicest secondary school I’ve ever seen – St. Jean de Brebeuf.  Along with volleyball they were hosting a swim meet in a big glass-walled pool area, doing what secondary schools here don’t seem to do as well – supporting the community.

On to the volleyball.  With a pool of three teams we played three 25 point sets against Vaughan Wolfpack (25-15, 25-11, 25-15) and Aurora Storm (25-17, 21-25, 25-21).  Each was a full hour of play with a lot of quality touches for all the boys so it was great for development.  Everyone set when in 2, everyone hit, everyone passed on serve receive.  As it should be at this point in the season – no specialization.

Coming first in our pool meant that we had a break until playoffs.  Since we got a bye, it was quite a wait.  IN FACT IS WAS A 5 1/2 HOUR WAIT, the longest I’ve ever endured in 5 years of volleyball.  I don’t know what happened to the schedule, or how the boys endured it.  When we started up again in the quarters it was like going to a new tournament.  We had no idea if the same team, that won in the morning, would show up.

Luckily the same team arrived to play and the boys cruised thru Pakmen 212 and Toronto West to gain a berth in the finals.  And it was a great final, against a huge Pakmen team that had five big hitters that could jump through the roof.  It was a great match, and loud, with both teams really getting into it, regardless of the triple ball format. I think we stunned Pakmen, who had had a relatively easy ride thus far that day, and scored at will, by taking the first set.  Second set went to Pakmen.  In the tie-breaker we took an early lead and kept pushing, winning 15-12.

The OVA is accumulating some triple-ball video – here is some footage of the final.

The guys looked great in their new DA jackets, with their gold medals.  They represented our club with class.

A huge thank you to our coaches Ryan, Michael and Brian, for taking the boys this far, at their first tournament.  And to the most spirited set of parents in the gym!


We played the controversial triple-ball format.  Some coaches and parents embraced it.  Others weren’t so happy.  It almost seemed to depend on how the team fared.

Our friends from Pakmen, who we faced in the finals, have a long legacy of developing great guys teams.  And their coaches had the same goals as us early in the season, to develop all-around athletes.  They loved the format, as did we.  The two best-developed teams played for Gold.

I spent the entire day working with Jason Trepanier, the Technical Director of the OVA, taking stats on how triple-ball was working out.  Not to scoop Jason, who is publishing a blog tomorrow, but the stats were pretty dramatic.  I took stats for 8 matches, about 20 games.  We tracked the first contact on a server-introduced ball (ace, service error or pass), the second ball (volley by setter, bumpset by setter, volley or bumpset by non-designated setter, or no contact) and the third ball (attack attempt, freeball attempt, or no contact).  And we tracked similar statistics for the coach-introduced balls, plus the number of rallies.

Take a look at Jason’s blog on the OVA web site to see what we found.

Triple Ball Rant & Demonstrational Video

Posted in 2010 Boys 14U Black, 2010 Girls 13U Black, 2010 Girls 13U Red, General Team News on November 27, 2009 by DurhamAttack

I know there are mixed reactions to the introduction of Triple Ball in Ontario. As a member of the OVA committee responsible for 11-16U, that introduced Triple Ball, I have heard both sides of the coin from parents and coaches.  We are doing this to maximize the development of all of our younger athletes.  And I can tell you that some of my fellow committee members are amongst the most respected coaches in the country, with amazing track records at developing athletes.  I’m happy to provide just a Club and parent perspective on things.

Let’s face it – Canada is not yet a world volleyball power. And to change this we need, amongst other things, to improve our skills. As a parent who has gone through 14u seasons with two children, I’ve seen the development of our younger players hampered by their inability to do serve receive at a young age. It is a difficult skill that takes a few years to develop. Looking at statistics from scoresheets, much more than half of the potential rallies end when the serve is not passed well enough to allow a setter to set and a hitter to hit. Which impacts not only the team on offense, but also the team trying to develop its defense.

Case in point – at a 14U boys tournament this past weekend our opponents in the first two matches passed so poorly that they only got a handful of points. That match, the way it was structured, did them no good for player development and it did our team no good.  I don’t think anyone felt good about the outcome afterwards, from a development point of view.

Thus, following in the footsteps of many other countries who perform better internationally than us, we are modifying the structure of the game (but not the rules) to promote better development of our athletes. Some countries have coaches serve at this age, to promote rallies. Some let players serve but disallow overhand serves. Others use a game with fewer players.  Leveraging work done by Alberta Volleyball we are introducing Triple Ball this year in 13U Girls and 14U Boys to better promote the development of fundamental skills.

As a parent of a 14U athlete that will play Triple Ball, I realize that they may consider this ‘beneath them’. Believe me, I hear about it.  Yet when I watch them play I see a very low percentage of good enough passes to allow their setter to exercise their offense, and therefore teach the athletes the fundamental skills we want them to learn. Even the best 14U boys teams in the province this past weekend did not pass well enough to run most of their plays ‘in system’.  They just tried to get the ball up so someone could get it back across the net.

The current structure at that age level is not a scenario that maximizes our athletes’ development.  The intent of Triple Ball is that:

  • Players learn proper, fundamental passing skills.
  • The ball is passed well enough that teams can play “three-hit volleyball”, which requires a passer to pass sufficiently well, a setter to set, and a hitter to hit. Everyone learns.
  • Rallies are promoted, so everyone gets more touches on the ball.
  • The defense defending against this attack is developed as equally as the team that develops its offense.  If the attacking team cannot hit, the defending team cannot learn to defend.

If the initial ball is not passed well enough then everyone suffers – the setter cannot develop setting skills, the hitters cannot hit, and the defense cannot learn blocking, positioning and digging skills.  The Triple-Ball tournaments will benefit all teams, whether they feel they can pass or not.

To help players and parents understand the modified game, the OVA has produced a Triple-Ball video with the assistance of the Ryerson University womens team.

Larry Skelly

14U Boys Successful in Kitchener

Posted in 2010 Boys 14U Black on November 24, 2009 by DurhamAttack

Our 14U boys team had a good first tournament at the KW Predators 14U Invitational in Kitchener this past weekend.   For many it was their first taste of club volleyball, the coaches had a chance to see the boys in action and to size up the competition, and the boys came away with a bronze medal.

14U Boys are Successful in Kitchener

14U Boys are Successful in Kitchener

Though a medal was not their stated goal.  Our coaches’ definition of ‘success’ for this tournament was to play players evenly, to not specialize positions, and to maximize the development of their athletes.  We wanted to be the best defensive team at the tournament.  In other words a medal is not important at this point in the season, especially at a non-OVA tournament, and this was a good opportunity to develop the guys.  And they did exactly that.  While every other team ran a 5-1 and played their ‘starters’ when it mattered, we rotated all our players through all the sets, and whomever happened to be in position 2 was the setter.  Every player played every position.

And still we came away with the bronze medal, and actually beat the winning Niagara Rapids team the first set of the semis (in reality, if not on the scoresheets, due to a scorekeeping error that even the refs agreed with).

No matter, our goal was accomplished.  The boys are on track for a great season, and with a very supportive group of parents it’s going to be a lot of fun.  Watch this team – they are going places.

all photos…