SCVA 2014 Junior National Qualifier 15-Open – Day 2 – The Pool Of Death

Today in 15-Open Round 2, Group 1, Pool 1 there was tournament 1-seed WAVE 15-Brennan who spend their days campaigning up in 16s except for qualifiers and championships. In Pool 2 there was Tournament 2-seed San Gabriel Elite 15-Roshambo. Their games were exciting too. And then there was Round 2, Group 1, Pool 3, aka “The Pool Of Death.” Because that’s what people were calling it. Round 2, Group 1, Pool 3 with tournament 3-seed Aspire 15-Rox who won their 2014 USAV JNC 15-Open bid at Colorado Crossroads, returning national champion  and tournament 4-seed Skyline 15-Roshambo Royal (who finished 1st in pool today), SCVA’s current ranking #1 team and tournament 8-seed Coast 15-Mizuno Luis and tournament 11-seed Tstreet 15-Chris. Now I’m not saying the Pool 1 and Pool 2 teams had less challenging rides. They didn’t! They fought just as hard. And I loved every game I watched. But my story is about Tstreet 15-Chris – a team that until just 3 weeks ago, (and just 9 practices), hampered by persistent illness, injury and player absence, has never had a full week of practice with all members present. Even now, Tstreet is under manned with 11 of 12 members back. But Tstreet dove into the pool and swam in the pool of death battling in close losses to Skyline 2-0 (25-23, 27-25); Aspire 2-0 (25-22, 25-21) and Coast 2-0 (25-23, 25-21). It was damn heroic. Inconsistent? Yeah. You could criticize Tstreet’s play for being heroic one play and not the next. Immature? Yeah. You could say that half of Tstreet’s players are all new and still adjusting to life and the rigors of play at the highest level. But that would be unfair to girls whose play reminded me of the movie 300, and of San Gabriel Elite’s 2013 14-Roshambo team, a team that,  hampered by injury, wasn’t able to fully compete until Mandatory 3 in 2013. SGE then came on with a vengeance to dominate SCVA’s Division 1 14s and finish 3rd in the 2013 USAV Junior National Championships. Sure Tstreet swam at their own risk. In these very close finishes against the nation’s best teams they certainly kept their heads above water. Onward because they Breathe. Believe. And Battle. Teams played with emotion. Tstreet played with heart. “If you fail, at least fail while daring greatly.” – Theodore Roosevelt

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