General Amherst

Lady Gens win one, tie one in opening week of girls soccer season



By Ron Giofu


The first week of the WECSSAA Tier 3 girls soccer season is in the books and General Amherst remains undefeated.

The Lady Gens opened the season April 10 at the Libro Centre with a 1-0 victory over Walkerville. Vanessa Pidutti scored the lone goal for General Amherst with Delilah Brouwer picking up the shutout in goal.

General Amherst hosted first place Cardinal Carter last Wednesday afternoon and while things started well for the Lady Gens, they had to settle for a tie. A first half goal and a goal early in the second half – both scored by Morgan Queen – put the Lady Gens up 2-0 but Brianna Zakaria and Abby DiLaudo scored later in the second half for Cardinal Carter and the game ended 2-2.

General Amherst coach Mark Sweet said the Lady Gens played well and he was happy with effort, although a bit disappointed with the outcome.

“It feels like a loss, but I couldn’t ask for anything more,” said Sweet. “The other team wanted it more in the second half.”

Vanessa Pidutti (left) battles for the ball April 12 against Cardinal Carter.

“We’re really happy with the team,” added assistant coach Lisa Voakes. “We outplayed (the opposition) both games.”

Sweet added that the Lady Gens gave it all they had and managed to hold a strong Cardinal Carter team to a tie.

There are new faces on this year’s General Amherst girls team and Sweet pointed out they are playing a different formation this season. The new formation is due to the new personnel, but it also gives more players an opportunity to get playing time, he said.

Voakes called this year’s squad “a great, well-rounded team” and one of the best girls teams General Amherst has had for a number of years. Sweet noted that Amherstburg develops a lot of quality athletes.

General Amherst was at home Tuesday against the Kingsville Cavaliers, after the April 18 edition of the RTT went to press. The Lady Gens are in Essex Thursday for a 4 p.m. game against the Red Raiders.

General Amherst boys soccer team now 2-1 after win and loss last week



By Ron Giofu


The General Amherst Bulldogs boys soccer team won their first two games of the WECSSAA Tier 2 but stumbled in their third game.

The Bulldogs’ most recent game was a 2-0 loss to L’Essor last Wednesday afternoon at the Libro Centre. The loss dropped General Amherst’s record to 2-1 on the 2018 soccer season.

“We didn’t play as well as we did the first two games,” stated Bulldogs head coach Gavin Blunt. “We got a wake-up call.”

Blunt said the boys team has the potential to be very good this season, but “two bad lapses” against L’Essor cost them the game.

“I think we’ll bounce back after this one,” he said. “I’m not too concerned.”

This year’s Bulldogs team has a number of Grade 11 and Grade 12 players, Blunt pointed out, and that they are aiming for big things come playoff time. He believes they are one of the best teams in the league with a strong defensive core and fast forwards.

General Amherst’s Michael Nasello (light jersey) goes after a ball against a L’Essor player during senior boys soccer action at the Libro Centre.

“Unfortunately, we couldn’t make use of that today,” he said, following last Wednesday’s loss.

Two days earlier, the Bulldogs hammered the visiting Herman Green Griffins by a final score of 8-1. Cole Chittle and Aaron Brush each scored twice for the Bulldogs with other goals being scored by Kieron Sweet, Michael Nasello, Donald Lachance and Nate Lenson.

“It was good execution by the team,” Blunt said, of the 8-1 victory. “If we’re on, we have the potential to put eight goals in the net.”

The team’s first game of the season was a 3-0 win over Westview Freedom Academy April 4. Chittle, Nasello and Colle Zelle scored in that game with Brendan Lowrie picking up the shutout.

The next game for the Bulldogs is Wednesday at home against the Sandwich Sabres. That is also their final home game of the regular season, with the final two games being on the road. General Amherst plays at Belle River April 23 and in Essex April 25. All upcoming games are scheduled to start at 4 p.m.

Bulldogs boys hockey team’s season ends in disappointing fashion



By Ron Giofu


The General Amherst Bulldogs boys hockey team’s season ended in disappointing style last week.

The Bulldogs were swept in two straight games in the WECSSAA “AA” finals by the Belle River Nobles. The first game in the best-of-three series was at the Libro Centre Feb. 28 and saw the Nobles come away with a 4-3 overtime victory.

The Nobles took a 3-0 lead in that game and General Amherst came back to tie it at three and forced overtime thanks to a strong third period.

“We put together a period of hockey where we were impossible to beat,” said Bulldogs head coach Pat Garrett. “We dominated the first two minutes of overtime and then Belle River gets a fluky goal and wins it. It was pretty disappointing.”

Brock Beaudoin scored twice for the Bulldogs while Isaac Hammond had the other.

General Amherst head coach Pat Garrett discusses strategy during a timeout in the third period of a recent game at the Libro Centre. The Bulldogs advanced to the WECSSAA “AA” finals but lost in two straight games to the Belle River Nobles in the best-of-three series.

The next day, the two teams faced off at the Atlas Tube Centre in Lakeshore for Game 2. Things started well for the Bulldogs as they scored the first goal. General Amherst had a 2-1 third period advantage but Garrett said penalty trouble due to “significantly undisciplined play” led to them being down 4-2 in a short period of time.

Game 2 ended up 5-2 and the Nobles were WECSSAA champs.

Josh DiCarlo and Beaudoin scored for the Bulldogs.

“Every year you have a goal to win,” said Garrett. “I really felt we had the group to take a WECSSAA championship.”

The Bulldogs hoped for another chance last Tuesday afternoon as Belle River faced off with Lambton Central for the SWOSSAA “AA” championship. A Belle River win would have seen the Bulldogs have an opportunity to challenge for the region’s second OFSAA berth but the Nobles fell short and officially ended the Bulldogs’ season.

“I would have liked to have seen us move on but I would have liked to see us move on as WECSSAA champions,” said Garrett.

Garrett, who coached the team with Joe Shaw this year, praised not only the commitment of the players this season but the parents as well. He pointed out it was a long season as it started back in November but the parents and grandparents stuck with the team and showed continued support.

Lady Gens hockey season concludes


Special to the RTT

The General Amherst Lady Gens played the first place Sandwich Sabres in the WECSSAA quarterfinals Feb. 12.

This was a one-game knockout to see who would advance to the semi-finals.  The coaches knew going into the game that they were going to be tough to beat but the girls were up to the task and did not quit. They played a tight defensive zone defence and frustrated the powerful Sandwich team in the first period.

General Amherst scored the game’s first goal (Abbie Drouillard assisted by Jaycie Stanek) and continued to frustrate Sandwich with outstanding goaltending by Jaiden Stiles.

Sandwich eventually tied the game in the second period and we went into the intermission between the second and third period with the belief we could still pull out a shocking victory.

Unfortunately, Sandwich scored early in the third period to go up 2-1.  The Amherst girls did not quit and continued to press for the equalizer. With just over a minute to go, the Lady Gens pulled Jaiden for an extra attacker and we continued to pressure Sandwich.

As the final buzzer sounded, there would be no happy ending this time.  Although the girls were disappointed that it ended this way, they were very proud with their effort and refusal to quit.

The coaching staff from the other team and even the referees commended our team for their play against a very strong Sandwich team.

In the dressing room after the game, the Amherst coaching staff found it hard to properly express how proud they were of this group of ladies.  Amherst’s very young team was able to push Sandwich to the limit and gave them a scare (Sandwich went on to win the WECSSAA championship).

The coaches did not feel like this was a loss for this program. Sometimes in hockey and life, failures like this lead to future success. This hopefully will give next year’s team some extra confidence going into the season.  Head coach Dan Pettypiece said he really enjoyed coaching this group of girls this year and although there were ups and downs, he thinks they have a bright future ahead of them.

On that note we are sad to say goodbye to Grade 12’s Carly Renaud, Emily Pontini, Alex Laframboise and Briana Farias. Pettypiece said he would especially like to thank Carly and Emily for their leadership with this young group of girls.

“I’ve had the pleasure to witness both of them grow up in the game of hockey and I know they will have lots to look forward to as they move to the next phase of. their lives,” said Pettypiece.  “Looking ahead to next year we will have most of the girls returning and we are looking forward to a strong new group of rookies coming in from Grade 8.  The future looks very bright for this team.”

The Grade 9’sand 10’s will compete in the Belle River Junior tournament on April 11-12 with the coaching help from the seniors.

“In closing I wish to thank our timekeeper Janice Ferguson, who has volunteered with us for 11 years, our sponsor Drew Coulson of Coulson Design-Build, assistant coach Jason Laframboise for his dedication to the program, our teacher reps  Kary Coulson and Nicole Rusenstrom for their commitment to this team, to Ron Giofu for his great coverage of this team and finally to the parents and grandparents who come out to cheer on the girls.  Your support of this program is very much appreciated,” said Pettypiece.


Jr. Lady Gens capture silver in WECSSAA “AA” volleyball playoffs



By Ron Giofu


The General Amherst Lady Gens junior girls volleyball team couldn’t quite get to the top of the mountain but are still happy with their season.

The Lady Gens were in LaSalle last Thursday night for the WECSSAA “AA” junior volleyball championship and went up against a powerful Sandwich Sabres team that went undefeated all season. The Sabres won the match and the championship with a 25-14, 25-13 and 25-23 victory.

The General Amherst Lady Gens junior girls volleyball team pose for a team shot with their silver medals after losing in three sets in the WECSSAA “AA” finals last Thursday evening at Sandwich Secondary School. (Photo by Kathy Dodds)

“They left it all on the floor,” said General Amherst head coach Mary Ewer.

Ewer said they were nervous in the first set and didn’t play their game and played better in the second set but “we weren’t able to get runs on them.” Ewer called a time out and told the Lady Gens simply to go out and have fun.

In the third game, the Lady Gens played well and led 23-20 at one point.

“The last seven points were the best seven points I’ve seen in a junior game in a long time,” Ewer stated. “It was back-and-forth. It was so much fun to watch.”

General Amherst’s Emma MacVoy (2) bumps the ball back over the net during action in the WECSSAA “AA” girls volleyball final last Thursday night at Sandwich Secondary in LaSalle.

Ewer, who coached the team with Jeff Miller and Christine Belcher this season, credited the opposition as well.

“Sandwich is a great team. They have a lot of club players, we had one,” she said. “I think our girls came out and tried our best. Sandwich is a very good defensive team.”

About 85-90 per cent of the players attended practices this season, Ewer added, and that made for “fabulous practices” and a better team.

Lexi Dodds of General Amherst goes after a loose ball during the first set of the WECSSAA “AA” volleyball final against Sandwich last Thursday night.

“We are so, so proud of them,” she said. “To me, it was a total team effort. It was lots of fun.”

Ewer said she is already looking forward to next year’s junior and senior seasons with the latter hosting the OFSAA “AA” provincial championship tournament.