The Northern Chill U17 Girls knew they were in tough heading to Kingston last weekend.
Seeded eighth in a field of nine teams, the locals would need to find a way to claw their way into a top-six placing in order to avoid dropping to Bugarski Cup – Trillium play in March.
Opening against the second ranked Ottawa Fusion Red, the Northern Ontario girls threw everything they had at the Fusion, falling in three hard-fought sets, 16-25, 25-21, 13-15. Not breaking ranks from clubs from the nation’s capital, the Chill finished second in their pool with a 25-22, 19-25, 15-12 victory over the Ottawa Maverick Trailblazers (fifth seed).
By the time they dropped a 20-25, 21-25 decision to the Ottawa Maverick Outlaws, the Chill were ready to face an opponent from anywhere but Ottawa. With sixth place on the line, the locals were pitted against the top-ranked seed entering the weekend, with the Aurora Storm Ice waiting in the wings.
Once again, the U17 girls proved more than competitive, despite falling just short in a 27-25, 23-25, 11-15 loss to the Ice. Settling for eighth place, the Chill took comfort in beating the Trailblazers, who had swept them in January.
Still, coaches Craig Thomson and Amy Cliff noted that with greater communication and reducing the errors somewhat, the team’s willingness to battle to the end would ultimately be rewarded.
Emily Clark was singled out for her consistent hitting and blocking, improving her performance throughout the weekend. The Chill U17 will now prepare for Bugarski Cup play, set for March 23, with provincials slated for April 26-28.
The roster of the 2012-2013 version of the Chill U17 crew features Emily Clark, Alandria Czerkas, Stephanie Foucault, Amanda Kring, Lauren Kyle, Emily McDonald, Kelsey Pitre, Emily Sanders, Jillian Vallier, Manon Duhaime and coaches Craig Thomson and Amy Cliff.