First-year team caps Smash season with Canada crown

After a very shaky opening day start, losing to both the Northern Chill (Sudbury), 25-21, 19-25, 15-4, and to Les Mosquetaires de Montignac (Lac-Megantic, QC), 13-25, 25-12, 15-8, the Hamilton Smash U16 Girls won a gold medal at the Canadian Volleyball Championship in Toronto over the Victoria Day holiday weekend.

The newly-formed team finished the day with a win over the Tommies (Fredericton, NB), 25-21, 25-16. The victory would set the stage for a fantastic finish that saw the Hamilton Smash U16s win all remaining matches – seven straight wins – to capture gold in Division III, Tier II.

On day two, the Smash defeated: JCVC (Saskatoon, SK), 25-21, 25-10, North Shore Stars-White (North Vancouver, BC), 25-11, 22-25, 15-4, and OVC Chaos (Okotoks, AB), 25-12, 25-18.

On the final day of elimination playoffs, the girls found gold, but only after conceding the first set in each of the quarter-final, semi-final, and final match games. Belief in team and self, coupled with a never-give-up attitude provided for a dramatic finish that made the national championship unforgettable for the girls and spectators.

The team won against Toronto West in the quarters, 20-25, 28-26, 17-15, ACTS Elites (Caledon, ON) in the semis, 20-25, 25-10, 15-11, and the Cyclones (Lachenaie, QC) in the gold medal match, 19-25, 25-19, 15-9.

What makes the club’s title very special is the fact that only two players competed in club volleyball together, and one other girl had never played. This was a first-year team which represented Hamilton very proudly.

During the volleyball season, the team won Bronze at the McGregor Cup and Silver at the Bugarski Cup.

Hamilton Smash - 2012 Canada 16U Girls Champions Top: Sasha McFadden (U15), Gabrielle Roberge, Mariah Brown, Piper McKerlie. Bottom: Ella Benedetti, Sofiya Yamnyuk, Madison Ertsinian, Rachael Pinter, Lydia Josipovic. Coaches: Doug McKerlie (Assistant), Ilija Josipovic (Assistant), Frank Pinter (Head Coach)