16U Girls - Southwest Stingray Girls Show the Value of Team Compassion and Commitment Finishing Fourth at Eastern Nationals
Dateline: April 26 to 28, 2019 - Ottawa, ON
Southwest Stingrays are a combination of 16U Kraken girls and two players from the Hammer Water Polo Club in Hamilton. Many of these girls have played and grown up together since the age of 9. After a challenging year in 2017/2018 season, the girls were once again reunited under their coaches Glen Keelan and Aleah Ciciretto.
A group of friends and family got together with a common purpose and something awesome occurred. After their first practice this year, all the girls came out of the pool with smiles from ear to ear, saying things like, "We worked really hard, had fun, and we love playing water polo again!"
Throughout the year they were consistently positive, and challenged and encouraged each other at each practice and outside of the pool too. Can you say "SNAPCHAT"? They truly bonded and showed what true teams do - support one another through good times, great times and challenging times.
The NCL Eastern Nationals for the 16UGs occurred in Ottawa on the last weekend in April. The city was in a state of emergency due to high flood waters. Everywhere you looked, sandbags were stacked, protecting properties. The sense of community and teamwork was evident as friends, family, neighbours, and strangers worked together to ensure all were safe. This seemed like a fitting location for this tight knit team.
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The weekend was the culmination of 10 months of hard work, determination, and training by the players and coaching staff. The first opponent was the hometown Capital Wave who provided great competition in the initial game of the series. The Southwest Stingrays dominated with power, and many weapons. Southwest Stingrays won this match 10-3.
Saturday's schedule brought the fierce rivals from Montreal, Dollard Des Ormeaux (DDO). After the first quarter the score was 1-0 DDO, the game was extremely tight both ways. No one gave an inch (or cm since we're in Canada). The second quarter saw the score spread out as DDO capitalized on their scoring chances and Southwest (SW) was unable to execute on every crucial offensive play.
It seemed like DDO's net was slightly smaller than regulation as SW hit a record number of posts and crossbars. This will surely mean lots of shooting practice next year! However, our girls still kept working and never gave up and the fans kept on cheering our Stingrays on. The score ended in a 10-2 loss which truly did not reflect the type of game it really was.
This set the stage for the Bronze medal match up against, who else... the Mavericks. Both teams were extremely familiar with each other having played 3 regulation games in the season and some exhibition games. The provincial friends were once again foes in the pool with hardware on the line. Alas, the Mavericks won 10-6 and took the Bronze.
Despite the loss this team was still proud having achieved something larger than a win. They were part of a group of girls that knew how important each member really was and, how truly supporting one another to achieve their best was the largest medal of all. At the end of the game coach Glen (perhaps a little misty) with pride said, "I have never coached a group of girls that is more supportive than this team." That is saying a lot as coach Glen is old (he's the first one to tell you!) and has coached MANY teams over the years.
This team has grown SO much this season, they have overachieved ALL year long, and they have made every person associated with them prouder than the proudest PROUD! This experience will be in their memories for many years and will no doubt help to shape them into the wonderful women they are destined to become!
GO STINGRAYS GO!!