The 15 Hawks were dealt a blow before the tourney began: starting setter, lefty Danessa Cutter, is out several weeks with a stress fracture. Back-up setter Megan Heileman was called upon to step up and run the offense.
The Hawks' first match of the day was against Premier VBC 15-2. This was good, as it allowed the Hawks and Megan to get comfortable with her as setter. A great performance was turned in by everyone, as the Hawks easily defeated Premier, 25-10 and 25-15.
Match 2 pitted the Hawks against Cincy VBC 15-2 team, who we play frequently. After losing to Cincy the weekend prior, the Hawks wanted this match. Game 1 was tight, with several lead changes. The Hawks finally lost, 24-26, due to 13 unforced errors. Games 2 and 3 saw great digging and passing by Katelin Hanes, Natalie Pierce, Ali Schneider, and Sadie Schwarz. Led by the kills and blocking of Kim Rosen, Rachael Huber, Tricia McCutchan, and Blake Robinson, the Hawks soared to the Land of Sweet Revenge, winning games 2 and 3, 25-20 and 15-11.
The final match of pool 1 was against Dayton Juniors, the #3 15 Open in the OVR. Game 1 was nothing short of a battle: the Hawks fought hard, as they have all season, blocking, digging, serving, attacking. The Hawks won Game 1, 25-23, giving Dayton their first loss of the tournament. The Hawks made many errors in game 2, a mistake against a top-5 team like Dayton. Game 2 went to Dayton Jrs, 13-25. While game 3 was more like game 1, the Hawks couldn't overcome Dayton's momentum, and Dayton won, 10-15.
Finishing second in pool 1, the Hawks moved on to play in pool 2. First up was Renaissance VBC 15 Black, currently ranked #16. This team matched the height of our Lady Hawks, but not their heart... Game 1 started back and forth, with great hitting from both sides. Ultimately, defense won the match, featuring tremendous digging and passing from the back row, along with the blocking of Kim, Rachael, Tricia, and Blake. Eventually Renaissance lost their aggression and started tipping and free-ball passing instead of attacking. The Hawks won easily, 25-20 and 25-17. This ended day 1, with the Hawks in charge of their destiny for the Gold round.
On Day 2, the Hawks had "the party zone" going on. They were on Cloud 9, soaring high, but they were wearing red... They were determined to break the curse of the red jerseys. The Hawks played match 2 of pool 2 against Toledo VBC Mattera, currently ranked 11th. The Hawks showed no mercy in Game 1, winning easily 25-17. They thought "What curse?"... then lost game 2, 21-25. Still they thought "What curse?"... then came game 3, and the Hawks beat themselves, with at least 8 unforced errors, losing game 3, 7-15.
The Hawks then played a deceptively good team, the not tall but very scrappy Cleveland Volleyball Company, currently ranked 14th. This match was more of the same, offering, at times, great play by everyone. Other times, the Hawks committing too many unforced errors. CVC won the match, 28-26, 18-25, and a controversial 13-15 game 3. The pool ended with TVC winning 3-0, and the other 3 teams all 1-2. But after tallying the results, the Hawks finished second and headed to the Gold round — changed back into the Black jerseys.
The first match in Gold brought the Hawks face-to-face with Cincy VBC 15-1, currently ranked 12th. This played out to be a great match, dominated by the Hawks after losing game 1 by an embarrassing 14-25. The Hawks quickly regrouped under coaches Matt and Meghan, winning games 2 and 3, 25-18 and 15-8. On to the semi-finals... the Hawks were at least assured of third in the Gold.
Several sayings came to mind with this final match, against the #2 15 Open of the OVR ... "To be the best, you must play the best" ... but maybe more appropriate is "Be careful what you wish for – you may get it". Team Atlantis 15 Black Sheep have four players the size of Kim and Rachael — intimidating with a capital "I — but the Hawks' coach, Matt Switzer, told the Hawks "to have fun". It was 7-0 in game 1 before the Hawks got the serve. Then something happened: the Hawks learned they could score on these girls. However, the Hawks lost game 1, 17-25... one Atlantis parent said that 17 was the most points scored on their team since the first match of the tournament. So the Hawks went into game 2, having fun with confidence. And though they lost, 19-25, they did manage to take the lead at 18-17 and cause the Atlantis coach to do a first — call time out!
Some stats for the tournament are as follows:
The Hawks, currently ranked 13th, go into the Indy MEQs more confident, knowing they can play with any team out there, when they play their best.