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SUPER SETTERS – The SubZero Black Ice 16U boys pose for a pic at the Volleyball Can ada 2023 Nationals in Edmonton.

SubZero Black Ice 16U boys taste success at Nationals

The SubZero Black Ice 16U boys tasted success at the Volleyball Canada 2023 Nationals recently.

By Morris Prokop on May 24, 2023

The SubZero Black Ice 16U boys tasted success at the Volleyball Canada 2023 Nationals recently.

The Nationals were held in Edmonton in the Saville Community Sports Centre May 12-14.

88 teams competed in the 16U boys divisions, in the biggest volleyball nationals ever held.

The Star spoke with Black Ice head coach Taylor Philips May 16.

She said the competition went very well for her team.

“We had some very tough competition. We had a very tough pool. They took almost all of their games to three sets, which was super-impressive. They worked really, really well as a team, learned a ton from the tournament. Every game was a learning point and a takeaway and things to work on now that we’re back in Whitehorse.

“We had some amazing plays that made the tournament, and every game, they ended it smiling and happy.”

Black Ice lost their first three games on May 12, but came back with a vengeance May 13.

“We had two wins in our second day of play,” said Philips.

They outlasted Seaside Surf from B.C. 14-25, 25-13 and 15-12.

They also beat PC Red from B.C. in two sets, 25-20 and 25-19.

Their only playoff game was a Tier 3 quarterfinal against Mastery VC from Alta.

Black Ice lost two hard-fought sets 25-18 and 25-21.

“I was super-happy with how they played,” said Philips. “Team dynamics and being supportive of each other is a massive part of volleyball and it’s something that they excelled at throughout.

“At all these big tournaments, it’s tough to come in not having played anyone in your game bracket before and then playing some amazing competition.

“They were in Division Two out of three, so they were right in the middle of the pack.

“They came in at a certain level and they came out at a much higher level than where they started at.”

The team was able to watch some Division One playoffs, which Philips said had “incredible players.”

The players were pleased with themselves, although they thought they could have done more.

“I think they had higher aspirations for themselves, and they definitely had the potential to have had higher competition but again, they were so supportive and so happy to be playing with each other. They’re a very tight knit team. So they were happy to win a couple games.”

Philips said there was a reason for their success at the tournament.

“It’s all about – it’s their attitude. So they came into those games very confident, very sure of their skill and they knew that they were very good players. And it was a very good team they were playing but that didn’t matter. They were there to have a good time and that led to them being very ‘cheeky’ is the word. They named both of their YouTube videos on that day ‘Cheeky Volleyball.’

“They really embodied that term. They were celebrating hard, they were playing very free and loose and willing to play their best, to make mistakes, and then they didn’t make very many.”

Philips said they had a “ton” of players that stood out.

“Chris McCarron played every single set.” McCarron was a libero (back-row player) and setter.

“Our best attacker was Cy McDowell.

“And then our middles held us in with all that blocking.”

Middle blockers included Simon Connell, Cody Adams and Gabriel Racine.

“And then we had a couple of libs (liberos) cycle through. That really held together our back row.”

Black Ice also has a year-end tournament coming up.

“It’s more of a fun tournament,” said Philips.

The tournament takes place May 27. That’s followed by beach tournaments on May 28.

Philips added, “I’m very proud of how they played and who they are as a team. We had a very large team this year and they came together and were incredible all throughout the season.

“A lot of them are looking forward to playing beach volleyball this year and so I’m sure that they’ll come in to next year even better.”

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