The Vancouver Thunder U 18 Women had a lot to celebrate this weekend, not only did their 6’3 middle blocker Nicola Laniuk turn 17, but the girls decided to add to the festivities by defeating the Coquitlam Ducks in a hard fought super series final. The Thunder “storm” squad was dominant through pool play and continued to both learn and grow from a loss in the icebreaker final 3 weekends ago to those same Ducks. The team seemed to find another gear as it moved into the early playoff rounds and applied significant pressure to both the Campbell River Crush and the Nanaimo Volleyball club that neither team was able to respond to. These early playoff victories set up another rematch in a final against the Ducks. A very close fought first set match was won by the “storm” as their tough serving and efficient side out play kept the pressure up on the Ducks.
It was a different approach in the second set. The Ducks came charging out early, establishing a 6-1 lead before a timeout was called and a significant wake up occurred. Thunder came storming out of the time out to draw even with the Ducks at 9. Again the Thunder team was guilty of a lack of focus and another timeout was called with the Ducks ahead again 13-9. With their backs against the wall and the coach out of time outs the team put it together to go on two consecutive runs of 5 and 6 points and efficiently worked their way to the two set victory. Juliana Kaufmanis was pivotal in the Thunder victory with some fearsome kills in the final frame but her performance was a by product of fantastic team defence, blocking and serve receive. Coaches and fans were impressed by the level of play demonstrated at many times in the final and Head Coach Beathen Thomas was most pleased with the teams commitment to excellence and expressed desire to get better each week. “Facing an opponent in a final again so quickly presented significant challenges as both teams were aware of one anothers’ strengths and weaknesses.” “The Ducks applied significant pressure with the consistency of their play and their competitive focus, we were pleased to get out of the final with a two set win” (Thomas) The team now turns to two weeks of training hard and will be back in action in two weeks when assistant coach Jonny Wiskar takes over the reins and tries to follow up this weekends success by testing the team on the road in the Kelowna Super Series.
Volleyball BC would like to thank the Thunder Volleyball U18 for sending in their team picture and story. Want your team to be featured on the VBC website or facebok page? Send your story and team picture to firstname.lastname@example.org!