Following a strong showing at the Big City Luau, the Acers took their show to Cannon Falls for the President's Day Festival. They hoped to continue their solid play for a second straight tournament, but faced stiff competition in Saturday's pool. The day started with a loss to Lakeville South 12-1, who ended up finishing 3rd overall out of all teams. The next game was against a deceptively tough Cottage Grove 12-1 team. Both squads had decisive set victories to force a third set. Cottage Grove took a 12-4 lead, but the Acers fought hard to tie the deciding set at 12 each. Unfortunately, they ran out of steam and Cottage Grove escaped with a narrow 15-12 victory to win the match. The last match of the day started the reversal of fortune as Shakopee 12-3 fell in straight sets to the Acers. Following Saturday's play, the squad finished 1-2 and took 3rd in their pool.
Pool play on Sunday brought adversity at different times that could have easily gotten into the heads of the girls, but they showed incredible resiliency and mental toughness when needed to take care of business in Cannon Falls. Against Centennial 11-1, the girls faced a couple of hurdles that could have derailed a decisive first set win, but came back from a 6-0 deficit in the second set to record an easy victory to begin the round. In their second match against Chaska 12 Gold, the girls again made quick work in the first set, but needed a rally to take the lead and ensure another straight set win. The last match of pool play put the Acers against Centennial 12-1 to win the pool. Whoever won the match would travel to Hastings for the playoffs. The Acers saw a first set lead evaporate into a 24-24 tie, a situation that would have been panic for this team a month ago. The girls, to their credit, picked themselves up and dug deeper to win the first set 28-26. Centennial fought back to win the second set and force a third set to determine a winner. The Acers took a big lead early and didn't look back, winning the third set 14-8, winning the pool, and punching their ticket to Hastings.
Waiting for the Acers in Hastings was a match against Club Inferno 12 White. While the girls had confidence in their play, it was not enough against the fiercely intense serves of Club Inferno, who won in straight sets en route to winning the entire bracket. For the tournament, the Acers went 4-3 and showed that their previous tournament was no fluke, making their coach beam with pride at their accomplishment.
In two weeks, the girls will bring their show to Waseca for another tournament. Fundamentals will be refined and the girls will start challenging their limits as new skills will be added to their arsenal.
Tag(s): Irish Elite JO