CHATHAM – Stratford U-15 Stingers Gold girls volleyball team claimed the gold medal in their first tournament of the 2012-13 season here this past weekend in the Provincial Cup.
In the gold-medal game, Stingers Gold faced the home-town Chatham Ballhawks and won both sets, 26-24 and 25-15. Tournament captain Amy Kocher provided brilliant setting and solid and consistent defensive play. Ashlyn Maxwell had several big hits and controlled the front of the court with big offensive moves.
In the opening game in pool play, Stingers Gold dominated the West Elgin Warriors with two stress-free wins of 25-6 and 25-4. Hailee Thomson was a dominant force at the net with aggressive blocks and hits, and Ellie Edwards demonstrated great ball control and made a number of well-placed passes.
Game two saw the U-15 Stingers Gold play Chatham Ballhawks in pool play. The Stratford squad came up on the losing side in the first set, 26-24, but dominated the next two sets, 25-4 and 15-8. Lena Bryan had a string of several strong serves to give Stingers a quick lead in the second set and provided consistent play, and Nicole Mazzanti was strong offensively with several well-executed hits and showed decisive ball control.
After re-pooling, Stingers Gold took on Hespeler Scorpions and won both sets, 25-17 and 25-14. Julian Ashworth delivered excellent setting, as well as numerous powerful hits. Hannah Runciman made some big diving saves and hit several big kills to pace the Stratford attack.
In the semi-finals, Stingers Gold faced Brant Tornadoes, winning the first set 25-19, losing the second set 23-25, and then taking the match with the final set win of 16-14. Cassie LaFay served up several well-placed and powerful serves, including a few aces and made a few big digs to lead Stingers to victory. Jenn Murray provided a huge timely block to help change the momentum and had a few great tips over the net that found holes in the other team’s defence.
The win allows the U-15 Stratford team to move up to the championship division for the next event.