The Stratford Stingers 13U team won a hard-fought battle for the gold medal at the Challenge Cup tournament held in Thorold the last weekend in January.
The Stingers started their winning streak by taking two quick games from the Brant Tornadoes 25-16, 25-19 thanks to the strong passing of Cherissa Kittmer and Rachael Skinner.
The Stingers advanced in pool play when they dominated the South County Bandits with powerful serves from Siobhan McCarroll and Sara Francis 25-19, 25-17.
The Stingers' entered the playoffs undefeated, where they met the Sarnia Spikes.
The sets of Maddi Empson and Sarah Lang created a strong offence and Ali McNeil-Smith and Rachael Salter made huge blocks and hits in the front row.
Confidence was soaring as the girls entered the semi-finals where they played the Waterloo Tigers Black. Lydia Murray led the team with incredible defensive plays, and the serves of Celina Whaling-Rae moved the girls right along to the gold medal game. The Stingers battled off their exhaustion and opened the first match with a fast win 25-15 against Forest City Green thanks to the amazing plays made by Janelle Simon along the net. The girls ended the tournament with a nail-biting win over Forest City 32-20 making them undefeated for the day. The girls played consistent, exciting volleyball all day.