Hard work pays off for Burlington Blades at Canadian OpenTORONTO- A strong commitment from their coach and players has allowed members of the Burlington Blades 16U Black to win the silver medal in the Tier 1 girls Division 4 Group at the Canadian Open volleyball tournament.
After a convincing semifinal win over the Citadelles de Québec in the semifinal, the Blades were finally stopped in the final by the STVC Schock from Scarbnorough, Ont. Still the loss didn’t dampen the spirits of the Burlington squad.
Burlington is guided by 15-year coaching veteran Jenn Argard, who is actually a Mississauga resident. She helped Burlington to silver in 15U three years ago at nationals and the team was coming into this tournament as provincial silver medalists.
‘’This is the first time for this team to come this far,’’ said Argard. ‘’They’ve gone through many challenges to get here. To see them have success has been awesome and I’m so proud of them. I don’t think they realized how good they were and it was tough at times for them to gain that confidence.’’
Argard wanted to make sure her troops didn’t feel any added pressure at nationals.
‘’When we came to nationals we wanted to have a great experience,’’ she said. ‘’Our goal was to focus on our strengths and support each other.’’
The lengthy celebration and group hug that followed the winning point in the semis showed how much this victory meant to the Blades.
‘’I’m so proud of my team for playing so well,’’ said Blades player Janelle Van Leeuwen, 16. ‘’Communicating on the court so well has been a huge factor in our success. Without that support of each other we wouldn’t have accomplished this.’’
Van Leeuwen said the players were also motivated to get a title for their coach.
‘’She motivates us in every way possible,’’ she said. ‘’Most of the girls have played for her for three years now and we are so pleased we could get this close.’’
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