Highlights of the Day at Nationals - 05/20
The second day at Rio de Janeiro, but first day playing the Nationals tournament, was a challenging experience for the Hawks. With parents, coaches, children and even mascots in the audience, the athletes were introduced at the Opening Ceremony, early in the morning, and swiftly started playing the tournament. Spirits were not as high as expected, seen as despite playing wonderfully well, none of our teams won their first games. This does not, however, reflect their performance; they played fiercely and refused to give up, in cohesion with the EABH values.
The very first game EABH played was futsal, right after the Opening Ceremony — Lady Hawks vs. Graded Eagles. The game started off well, with a goal scored by Mariana Lana (13). Immediately after, however, the Eagles managed to score as well, and flipped the scoreboard. The game was very intense, and the Lady Hawks never gave up. Nerves were at a high when there was only one minute left and EABH was losing 3x4, but Laura Calixto (99), in her endless determination, scored a goal and tied the game. Agitated, the girls moved straight to penalties. To their misfortunate, they lost by one goal (2x3).
After recovering from futsal, our Lady Hawks faced the EARJ Panthers for volleyball. They played an amazing game; though the Panthers seemed to dominate the court initially, our girls made their comeback and guaranteed victory in both the second and third sets, as Brunna Gontijo (16) and Marcela Borlido (5) attacked in unbreakable strength. The fourth set and the tie-break were very balanced, with a short score disparity that was borderline invariable between the teams. Unfortunately, the Lady Hawks stood behind by two points in each of the last sets, and were not sent to the finals.
The last game of the day was played by EABH's men's volleyball team; the Hawks went against the Sant'Anna Wolves in a nerve-wrecking game that, sadly, did not have the expected results. Our boys were forced to play at a disadvantage, as the expected opponents, the Graded Eagles, got kicked out of the tournament for misconduct and were replaced by the Wolves last-minute. Though EABH played persistently and in an organized manner, the Sant'Anna team was more prepared and the Hawks lost all three sets — even if the last one was by only three points.
The day was not what EABH athletes were expecting, nor desired; nonetheless, it was far from negative. All teams played very determinedly and showed their true Hawk values: perseverance and unconditional support — the games were wonderful to watch. The audience was outstanding: alongside fellow athletes and parents, people from other schools joined in all the EABH chants. The Hawks and Lady Hawks will play their three final games tomorrow, all for the bronze medal; it is comforting to know that, regardless of the results, their excited energy and sense of community will remain untouched.