It was the first taste of tournament play for the Upangas since March 4, 2020. Entering the OVA Provincial Cup – Trillium E Division as the top seed, the team was excited to get back to playing meaningful games once again.
The day started off with pool play, and it did not take the Upangas long to shake off the rust, winning the match vs. Thundercats Apex (Vaughan) convincingly, 25-3 and 25-15. The second match of pool play offered a marginally better challenger in PVC Fury (York) however the Upangas made quick work of the match by taking both sets 25-16 and 25-10.
As the team entered the quarter-finals, their confidence was high and looked forward to meeting the winner of the play-in match between Georgian Cubs Power (Barrie) and Galaxy Infinity (Richmond Hill). In the end, the Upangas faced Galaxy Infinity for a chance to play in the semi-final and the girls were up to the task, taking the first set 25-16 and leading the second set 13-6 before their opponents had to retire due to an injury to their setter and an already depleted lineup due to injuries earlier in the day. Nevertheless, the Upangas were on to the semi-finals.
Playing the semis vs. Venom Vipers (York), the Upangas got off to a strong start, taking the first set 25-17. As the second set progressed, the Upangas found themselves in a deep hole for the first time in the tournament and could not find their “mojo” to climb out, eventually losing the set 14-25. In the third set, the team managed to lead a couple of times but ultimately could not see the set through to the end, making a number of unforced errors in serving, passing and on offence, culminating in a heart-breaking 15-12 third set loss, and a trip to play in the third place match.
Meeting up with Phoenix Heat (Toronto) in the last match of the day (with the Upangas still reeling from their semi-final defeat), the team went about their business and got the job done with a quick 25-14 and 25-17 two set victory to finish out their day.
With an overall record of 4-1 on the day, and set record of 9-2, the Upangas will have to endure another OVA tournament (Challenge Cup) in Trillium Division with their sights being set on emerging victorious and moving up to the Championship Division for the McGregor Cup in February.