Club team punches above age bracket
at invitational yet still wins gold

By Allan Bradbury
Staff Writer

Members of the 807 Selects Volleyball Club along with some recruits from Thunder Bay Superior North Volleyball Club played in the Ontario Native Volleyball Invitational last weekend in Thunder Bay. The tournament was slated to be a 19 and under (19U) event but the 16 and under (16U) Selects team ran the table and won gold.

“The team was 16U but I knew we were strong going in,” said coach Terry McMahon. “I pitched challenging ourselves and playing up at 19U to the team. Everyone was a little nervous and excited to play up and we decided to go for it.”

The event was put on in an effort to identify players for Team Ontario at the North American Indigenous Games coming this summer in Nova Scotia.

McMahon says there were challenges for the team to overcome, with some players added that hadn’t played together before and playing in different positions than they were used to. The team entered the tournament nicknamed the “Dream Team,” they also adopted a goose mascot, perhaps a reference to McMahon’s nickname. His players can often be heard referring to him as ‘goose.’

In the best of three round robin the team split the first two sets and won the tiebreaker against the Treaty #3 Titans. They won in two sets against Chief and Council from Thunder Bay in the third match. McMahon says the game was up and down and split the first two sets.

“The third set started rocky but we battled back and ended up walking away with the win,” he said.

The final game of the round robin came against a team from Dennis Franklin School in Thunder Bay. The Dream Team won that match in two sets and with an undefeated record advanced straight to the gold medal game.

The best of five gold medal game found them back up against the Treaty #3 Titans and McMahon was very pleased with the game they played.

“The girls saved their best game for last, they were dynamite,” McMahon said. “They played tough, were aggressive and very sharp on defense.”

The Dream Team took the first two sets. After going down four points in the third set, McMahon called a timeout to reset the players.

“They regained their composure and slowly battled back one point at a time,” McMahon said.

The Dream Team led 24-20 but Treaty #3 Titans pulled back to tie the game 24-24 before the Dream Team managed to end it.

“We sided out and Payton Dolyny put the final nail in the coffin with a beautifully placed push to the back corner,” McMahon said. “It was a great weekend of volleyball. I am so proud of this team and how they grew over the weekend.”

McMahon added that it was great to see many talented indigenous athletes competing.

The Dream Team, assembled by the 807 Selects Volleyball Club and Thunder Bay Superior North Volleyball Club by coach Terry McMahon, is a16U team, which took part in the 19U Ontario Native Volleyball Invitational. Despite the youth of the players, the team won gold. Team members were, Back from Left: Shya Boissoneau – Garden River First Nation, Olivia Cupp – Métis Nation, Calleigh Councillor – Naicatchewenin First Nation, Ava Botsford – Métis Nation, Payton Dolyny – Métis Nation, Emma Bell – Matachewan First Nation, Coach Terry McMahon – Couchiching First Nation. Front: Gracie Medicine-Horton – Manitou Rapids First Nation, Dawnas Horton – Manitou Rapids First Nation, Peyton Carlson-Jourdain – Couchiching First Nation. – Submitted photo