T.E.A.M. Hiki No 18U had a strong showing at Colorado Crossroads, finishing fifth overall in 18 National. The first day put us in a strong pool where we came out firing, taking the first set from a very tough Vision team. We were unable to win the next two sets, but were hoping that the girls would make the required changes necessary to continue to compete. They did so, quickly dispatching Casper Performance and Northshore in two, for a second place finish in the pool.
Holding the third seed in Saturday’s pool, we again started off with Zona 18s. The girls came ready to play, with a pretty dominating performance to take down the top seed in the pool. Our next match with IFJ turned out to be a pretty good test, but we were able to stay mentally tough and pull out a big win in three sets. They continued to stay disciplined and were able to win the final match of the morning to go undefeated on the day and win the pool, placing us in the Gold bracket for the final day.
First match for us in the single elimination bracket was against a big Utah Juniors team. We were able to take the first set pretty convincingly, but had a bit of a letdown in the second, taking us to yet another deciding set. Down 11-7 in the third, they were able to remain focused on the task at hand and pulled out a huge comeback win at 16-14, setting up a rematch with Vision. This time around, Vision was able to take the first set from us, but we were able to respond with a good performance in the second. We again found ourselves down 11-7 in the third, but this time were not able to pull out the win at 13-15.
Overall thoughts on the tournament remain positive, though. It was a great learning experience for all involved, and the fact that we competed that well at the National level at this point in our development is huge. We are convinced that we are just beginning to see what we are capable of, and we will soon see them make good on the exponential growth we expect. We must continue to work hard and remain focused on the task at hand, as we believe doing so will set us up nicely for the second half of the season. As always, Hiki No!