Jess Francis and Molly McBain played 7 tournaments this summer earning one gold, three silvers, and two third place finishes, but their peak came when they played 14U Division 1 Provincials on August 4th.
While they entered the tournament seeded 2nd overall, they knew there would be no easy matches in the Premier Division.Â The day started a little rocky dropping some early sets in pool play and they ended up finishing 3rd in their pool.Â Knowing that the road to gold would be a tough one, they refocused for their first playoff match after lunch.Â The opponent was familiar – another PVB team that they had played all year and one that had beaten them in a 14U Division 1 final earlier in the season.Â Both teams played very well, but in the end Jess and Molly came out on top winning 21-15, 21-19.
Moving on to the quarterfinals, they found themselves across the net from another pair of familiar faces.Â Facing a strong Woodstock team that had beaten them in the finals on June 10th in their only meeting, they knew that they would have to play at the top of their game.Â Once again, Jess & Molly rose to the challenge to advance to the semi finals.Â As they prepared for the match, they realized that they would again face an opponent that had already beaten them.Â This time, it was a much more recent defeat.Â Their next match was against a team from Ottawa that had beaten them in pool play earlier that day.Â Both teams were exhausted playing in their 6th match of the day but there would be no easy points.Â After splitting the first two, the match would come down to a third and decisive set.Â The long day and match was showing on both teams, but Jess and Molly pushed through to win the set 15-11 and advance to the finals.
In true poetic fashion, Jess & Molly had to face another opponent that they had lost a 14U final to previously.Â Half of the pair they were going to play had beaten them just a couple of weekends before, after a long rain delay, to claim gold in Cobourg.Â This time, there would be no delays.Â The match was ready to start after only a short break.Â Both teams looked tired at the start of the match; however, as the match continued, the taste of gold grew and both pairs started to overcome the fatigue and play at the level everyone had come to expect.Â The match went back and forth with several lead changes, but in the end, Jess & Molly would outlast their strongest opponent yet to take the gold medal match in straight sets.Â After 7 grueling matches and against 4 previous victors, Jess & Molly definitely earned the title of 14U Division 1 Provincial Champions.
Story submitted by Vishnu Persaud.