WECSSAA

Rebuilding year forecasted for Lady Gens hockey team

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Lady Gens opened the 2017-18 WECSSAA girls hockey season with a 1-1 tie but the season may be more difficult than years past.

The graduation of some key players off of last year’s team has given the Lady Gens a younger roster and one that its head coach Dan Pettypiece said will require some patience.

“The biggest thing I’m going to have to adjust to and the girls are going to have to adjust to is that we are in a rebuilding state,” said Pettypiece after Monday afternoon’s 1-1 tie with Massey.

Pettypiece said there are six Grade 9 players on this year’s Lady Gens squad and they are going to make mistakes.

“Today’s game showed that,” he said.

Instead of making plays when they had the opportunity, the Lady Gens rushed with the puck and gave it away. They have to learn to be patient, said Pettypiece, adding he’d rather see players have the puck taken from them than to just give it away.

“Right now, they are fighting the puck,” he added.

The Lady Gens were late getting onto the ice Monday, and Pettypiece said they weren’t ready to play.

The strong teams they’ve had in the last four years have moved on, he added.

“Those days are done. We’re writing a new story now,” said Pettypiece.

Jaycie Stanek had the lone goal against Massey while Jaiden Stiles played well in goal, Pettypiece stated. He said there were things that didn’t go well in that game and possibly cost them a chance to win. He added they were missing a couple of players as well.

“This team is going to take time to gel,” he said. “It’s about being patient with them and them being patient with themselves.”

General Amherst hosts Essex today in a 3:15 p.m. game at the Libro Centre.

Lady Gens eliminated from WECSSAA “AA” playoffs in semi-finals

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Lady Gens got to the WECSSAA “AA” playoff semi-finals but could advance no further.

The Lady Gens hosted the Sandwich Sabres last Tuesday night and won 40-31 to advance to the semi-finals Thursday night at Kennedy. In that Thursday night semi-finals, a second quarter surge by the Clippers doomed the Lady Gens and led to Kennedy defeating General Amherst 50-27.

The Lady Gens led 11-6 late in the first quarter but a pair of late three-pointers put Kennedy up 12-11 at the end of the eight-minute quarter. Those three-pointers were part of a 15-0 run the Clippers went on and that 15-0 run was part of an overall 24-2 run that closed the first half and gave Kennedy a 30-13 lead.

General Amherst’s Taja Holmes (22) lays in two of her nine points during last Thursday night’s
WECSSAA “AA” semi-final game against the Kennedy Clippers.

The Lady Gens played better in the second half but weren’t able to recover from the second quarter.

“I told them before the game that you can’t let them get on a run,” General Amherst head coach Dom Silvaggio said.

The last 30 seconds of the first quarter was the turning point of the game, he believed. The second quarter was a bad quarter and having a bad quarter per game was a problem this season for Amherst.

“In the second quarter, we just sucked. There’s no other way to say it,” he said.

The Lady Gens reverted to poor habits they were doing earlier in the season, including passes that would not connect. Silvaggio, who was coaching against his son Stephen in the Kennedy game, said his son told him that Kennedy wasn’t doing anything special in the second quarter but it was turnovers by Amherst that helped swing the tide towards the Clippers.

Lexi Dodds scored 12 points against Kennedy while Taja Holmes scored nine points.

The quarterfinal game against Sandwich saw Dani Brindley score 11 points while Brooklyn Prescott had ten points. Dodds and Holmes had eight and seven points respectively. Ramie Tytgat had five points.

“We played an excellent first half,” Silvaggio said after the Sandwich game. “In the second half, we didn’t have that extra step. Sandwich switched defenses and we didn’t run our offense.”

Brooklyn Prescott drives to the basket during the second half of the Nov. 2 playoff game at Kennedy.

The Lady Gens’ defensive intensity was better in the first half of the Sandwich game, Silvaggio added.

A positive sign from this season was a lot of players that received a lot of playing time, about six in total, will return next year.

“There are quite a few kids that improved a lot,” said Silvaggio.

The team will likely have more players to choose from next year and Silvaggio hopes for more consistency out of them.

“If we can get 32 minutes out of them, I think we’ll be good,” he said.

Silvaggio urged the players to work in the offseason at improving their games otherwise improvement will be stunted.

“If they are not going to put in the work in the offseason, we’re not going to get any better,” he believed.

This year’s Lady Gens were a respectful and good group to coach, he added.

Dani Brindley lunges after a loose ball during the fourth quarter of last Thursday’s WECSSAA semi-final game at Kennedy.

“I’d like to thank them for that,” said Silvaggio. “They were enjoyable for us to coach.”

Silvaggio, joined on the sidelines this season by Don Parks and Nicole Rusenstrom, believed that playing in WECSSAA Tier 1 was productive. They went 1-7 in the regular season but the caliber of play helped develop the players and should prove beneficial in the long run, he indicated.

“I am happy we played in Tier 1 this year, because even though we didn’t win many games, we were competitive in every game but one,” he said. “It also forced us to play at a quicker pace and we got to play a higher caliber of basketball, which will help us for the next couple of years. There was a big difference in the caliber of ball between the tiers.”

Lady Gens pick up first victory of the season

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Lady Gens senior girls basketball team recorded its first victory of the WECSSAA Tier 1 regular season and hopes to build on that in the playoffs.

The Lady Gens were 0-7 heading into last Thursday afternoon’s game at Sandwich but the Sabres were also winless heading in. In the end, it was General Amherst coming away with a 53-41 win.

“We didn’t start out that well and trailed 10-2 at the end of the first quarter. We made a run late in the second quarter and closed the deficit to 18-17 by halftime,” said General Amherst head coach Dom Silvaggio. “We then played a strong second half and out scored them 36-23 to win 53-41.”

Taja Holmes had 11 points while Brooklyn Prescott, Lexi Dodds, Ramie Tytgat and Dani Brindley all had ten points each.

“This game was typical of our season where we have one bad quarter, this game being the first quarter,” said Silvaggio. “The only difference was in this game we scored enough points to make up for the bad quarter. We hit six three-pointers which helped. We also starting taking the ball to the basket which helped us getting to the free throw line more than we normally do.”

Silvaggio said they received a bye for the first round of the playoffs and host Sandwich Tuesday at 5 p.m. The juniors also play Sandwich, with that game scheduled at General Amherst at 3:15 p.m.

“Sandwich was missing a very important starter last (Thursday) night, so for us to beat them again we will have to play like we did in the second half and can’t have a bad quarter,” said Silvaggio.

Sr. Bulldogs battle Riverside but come up short

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Bulldogs battled the Riverside Rebels for the second time this season and while it was a bit closer of a game, the result was the same.

The Bulldogs lost 38-6 last Thursday evening at the Libro Centre to fall to 0-5. Despite the score, the Bulldogs did play better than they did in the first game of the season, a 41-0 loss to the Rebels Sept. 14.

Riverside used big plays to build a lead, including an 80-yard punt return touchdown and a 76-yard run in the first half and that, plus a field goal, put the visitors up 17-0 at the half. Thanks to a 23-yard pass and a two-yard run, the Rebels went up 30-0 in the fourth quarter and followed that up with a single point on a kickoff to go up 31-0.

General Amherst’s Austin Hocevar (31) tries to get around a Riverside defender. Trying to create room for his teammate is Amherst’s Ethan Lavigne (14).

Brayden LeClerc provided a highlight for the Bulldogs, as he scored on a 75-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter but Riverside added another touchdown, this one on a 68-yard run, to round out the scoring.

General Amherst was able to move the ball at points, including a successful fake punt in the first half, but was unable to get to the end zone with the exception of the LeClerc touchdown.

“In the first half, I think we ran things a lot better,” said head coach John Rudak. “We were a lot more solid.”

With it being 17-0 at the half, Rudak said the Bulldogs believed the game was still in reach but their “bend but not break” defense allowed too many big plays.

“We have a lot of kids who haven’t played football (before this season) and are not football smart right now,” said Rudak. “It’s been difficult.”

With the Bulldogs set to face an undefeated Tecumseh Vista Academy team this Thursday afternoon in Tecumseh, Rudak wants all of his players to be ready and to come out to practice in preparation for the game. It will be the final regular season game for General Amherst.

Levi Reaume (gold jersey, #21) is tackled by a pair of Riverside defenders Oct. 19 at the Libro Centre. Riverside won 38-6.

“It’s about the team right now, not the individuals,” he said. “We have to be focused on the team. Our society seems to be based on what is good for me, at least with the youth it seems.”

Rudak even quoted Star Trek character Spock, in stating “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”

The team played the previous week in Wallaceburg for the “Bronze Boot” and while they lost, assistant coach Joel Charron said it was a good experience for the players.

“(Wallaceburg) was a big, beefy team,” said Charron. “I don’t think we came prepared.”

Jr. Bulldogs lose to Villanova 41-1

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

It wasn’t a game that the General Amherst Bulldogs junior football team will consider their finest.
For the Villanova Wildcats, last week’s game will provide them with better memories.

The Wildcats knocked off the visiting Bulldogs 41-1 last Tuesday afternoon in a game played at St. Thomas of Villanova Secondary School. Villanova did the bulk of its scoring in the first half with General Amherst coach Dino Rosati stating his team showed some improvement in the second half.

Eric Blanchette (11, left) throws a pass during fourth quarter action Oct. 17 at Villanova. Villanova won 41-1.

“It didn’t quite go the way we wanted,” Rosati remarked after the game.

Quarterback Emmitt Rosati missed the game due to a sprained ankle with Eric Blanchette and Nolan Crain splitting time under centre against Villanova.

“They both did an OK job,” said Rosati, noting the two back-up quarterbacks picked up valuable experience they didn’t have before.

“They played pretty well for never having played that spot before,” said the head coach.

Other players managed to get on the field and get some experience as well, Rosati added.

“We got a lot of kids in there. We see some positives,” said Rosati. “We got a lot of kids some experience.”

Preston Muzzin (84) reels in a pass against Villanova during General Amherst’s 41-1 loss to the Wildcats Oct. 17.

The second half was better because of the defense, he believed.

Anthony Paossi scored three touchdowns for Villanova with Dawson Taylor, Josh Rosa and Jaxon Laramie each having one touchdown for the Wildcats.

“We had a couple of good stops on defense in the second half,” said Rosati.

The Bulldogs (0-4) host another winless team Oct. 24 as the Catholic Central Comets come to Amherstburg. The Bulldogs conclude the regular season Oct. 31 with a 4 p.m. game against Sandwich, also at Centennial Park.