As things wrapped up at the 18U OVA Provincials on Sunday, the indoor season has unofficially come to an end for many teams. While some teams are heading to Nationals over the next couple of weekends, other teams are heading south to participate in some of the biggest tournaments that the JVA, AAU and USAV host in their seasons as they look to head into their National tournaments in June firing on all cylinders.
The 2021-22 season threw a number of curve balls at us as a Club. Covid-19 impacted us in many ways once again this season – first with the implementation of the vaccine mandate affecting players availability for tournaments and training on some teams, and then with a shut down of all training and game play while the Province grappled with the fifth wave of the pandemic. There were a number of tournaments re-scheduled or cancelled, and our efforts to get all of our teams competing in the US for JVA tournaments never came to fruition. We look forward to getting back to a regular schedule for the 2022-23 season to maximize game time for all players in the Club.
The season did have some notable moments. Lakeside Volleyball Club (LVC) had the highest number of kids and teams in the Club’s 11-year history, which was built off of a successful couple of summers hosting outdoor grass court training for kids of all ages. LVC also added a few new coaches to the mix, and are already looking to add a handful more over the off-season to bolster the Club’s coaching ranks and experience. Finally, we also added a couple of new training facilities to the mix which will allow us to continue expanding our volleyball offerings in the way of additional Academy programming, team training opportunities, and added locations to host games and tournaments throughout the season. Very exciting times ahead.
Thanks to all of our players, parents, coaches, alumnae, volunteers, Sport Oakville, the Town of Oakville, the City of Burlington and the HCDSB for supporting the Club throughout the season. We look forward to seeing many familiar faces, and a number of new faces, as we move forward into our summer training program and the start of another indoor season in September.
Here is a quick summary of how all of our teams ended their seasons. We look forward to building on our progress from 2021-22, adding some new pieces to the puzzle, and making 2022-23 our best season yet!
(each team’s result at the 2022 OVA Championships is in brackets beside the team name)
15 ISIHLANGU (Division 1, Tier 1: Tied 9th)
The Isihlangu entered the season unranked as the OVA used rankings from two seasons prior. As many of these players either didn’t play on a team, didn’t play for Lakeside, or didn’t play more than a couple of tournaments two seasons ago, the team was treated as a “new” team at 15U. The Isihlangu started the season by winning three tournaments without dropping a match (15 – 0). Only an OVA tournament that was plugged into the schedule late and over the March break saw the team suffer their first losses of the season, coming 5th place with a short-handed roster.
Over the course of the season, the Isihlangu climbed from the depths of the unranked to ending up 20th ranked in the Province. The team encountered some ups and downs throughout Provincials, but went undefeated on day two and landed a spot in the Top 16 for the final day. A tough loss in the first round on Sunday ended their journey for the OVA season, however the team is well-positioned to start the 2022-23 season in Select Division and keep building momentum for their rightful spot in Premier Division.
The Isihlangu will wrap the indoor season with a trip to Detroit for the Can Am Classic on May 7 – 8.
17 UPANGAS (Division 2, Tier 1: 2nd Place)
The Upangas had their ups and downs throughout the season. Like every OVA team, the team was ranked based on their 15U results which unfortunately placed the them in 53rd position to start the season. Kicking the season off in Trillium, and short handed due to an injury and the impacts of the vaccine mandate that held two starting players out of the tournament, the Upangas placed 3rd in their first tournament, but never looked back. At the second tournament of the season, the girls did not drop a set en route to their first place finish and graduating to Championship Division for what turned out to be the last OVA tournament for the season. The Upangas ended up placing second in that final OVA event and landed in a four-way tie for ranking points for the final spot in Division 1 for Ontario Championships. The tiebreak rules saw the Upangas sit as the second ranked team in Division 2 for OC’s, and the team did not disappoint in the Championship tournament.
Heading into the D2 gold medal match with a blistering 8 – 0 record over the three days of OC play (not dropping a set), the team ran into a very strong E381 team in the final, losing out on the top spot of the division. That did not dampen the team’s spirit whatsoever as the Upangas ended their 2021-22 campaign with a 21 – 3 match record overall, and have secured a spot in Championship division play to start the 2022-23 season.
Like the Isihlangu, the Upangas will wrap their season in Detroit at the Can Am Classic in early May.
14 TAKOBAS (Division 2, Tier 2: Tied 5th)
In their first season of play as a team, the Takobas made massive strides this season. Most players on this team had little to no organized volleyball experience outside of school volleyball, but they all engaged in every training session and put their best foot forward in all of their matches.
Entering Provincials as the 29th seed in D2, the team played to a 2 – 4 match record entering the final day of play. In their first match on elimination day, the girls took to the court against the EVP Eagles and took a three-set thriller to secure a spot in the D2T2 quarter-finals. In the quarter finals, the Takobas ran into a more organized team and fell in straight sets to the eventual winners of D2T2, the Georgian Cubs.
14 SJAMBOKS (Division 2, Tier 2: Tied 9th)
The Sjamboks entered Provincials with the highest ranking of our three 14U teams. Over the course of the season, the Sjamboks were steady during league play and trained hard at every training session. Like the Takobas, there were a number of players that had never competed in OVA volleyball in prior years, however their dedication to learning and executing skills on game days propelled them to their D2 ranking of 20th.
The team endured many peaks and valleys over the course of the three days at the Ontario Championships, however the team has one year of experience under their belts now, and will use the experience to continue their growth next season.
14 WALEZI (Division 2, Tier 2: Tied 9th)
A great year of volleyball for this young group of ladies. This team was a 13U team that played up to 14U this season to avoid playing triple ball. The team exceeded expectations all season long, as many of these girls are 11 or 12 years of age and had never played volleyball prior to joining us during summer training in 2021.
The Walezi played their hearts out this season, bringing high energy and tons of enthusiasm to every training session and every match they played. They entered OC’s as the 32 ranked team in D2 and although the results on paper didn’t reflect their efforts throughout the Championships, they have a great foundation to build upon moving forward.
18 SHAMBULIO (Division 3, Tier 1: Tied 9th)
Our 18U girls wrapped their season yesterday with a T-9th place finish in D3T1 of OVA Provincials. This team overcame a number of obstacles this season. In the summer of 2021, the Shambulio were the first team in the club to re-sign all of their players from the previous season. As the season began and COVID-19 restrictions started to impact training and game play, the team lost a few key players. Fortunately, the team picked up a couple of players during the season and brought the team back together.
Entering Provincials as the 7th ranked seed in D3, the team went 5 – 1 in pool play and set themselves up as a top-12 team in the division for Sunday’s elimination rounds. The girls dropped two close sets in their play-in match, thus ending their season. We wish all of the girls leaving for University and College next year good luck and all the best in their futures.
16 SHUJAAS (Division 3, Tier 2: 3rd Place)
The Shujaas started their season as the 98th seed, but showed throughout the season that they deserved to be ranked higher. Having had to play in League Play Pools and only one tournament over the course of the season, the Shujaas gave it everything they could, playing to an 11 – 5 match record. The team made great strides and managed to work their ranking down from 98th to 68th entering Ontario Championships.
At the OC’s, the Shujaas were competitive in each pool play match however they concluded their first two days with a 2 – 4 record, placing them in D3T2 for the final day. On the final day, the Shujaas fully embraced every match and ended the day on a winning note by securing 3rd place with a straight-sets victory over Northern Chill.
16 SILAHAS (Division 4, Tier 2: Tied 5th)
The Silahas were a mixed team of previous Lakeside players and new players from our summer training sessions. The team took some time to gel this season and thus got off to a slow start. The impacts of Covid-19 and the accompanying restrictions took their toll on this roster and the team could never fully recover.
We are looking forward to seeing a number of these players over the summer at our summer training program. It will be a great time for them to regroup, rediscover their groove, and move on to whatever next season brings for them.
16 KASCARA (Division 4, Tier 2: Tied 5th)
Much like the scenario for the 14U Walezi, Kascara had a number of players on the roster that “played up” to 16U this season. These young Kascaras spent a majority of their time learning the basic fundamentals of the game this year. With that said, the team managed to pull out a couple of match victories, and enjoyed their time at what was the first Ontario Championships for the majority of the team.
Looking forward to the summer, most of the girls are ready to train during the offseason so that they continue their forward momentum for the start of a new indoor volleyball season.
And that’s a wrap! Have a great summer, and see everyone in the fall where we can do it all over again!