Lady Gens lose first match of 2018-19 WECSSAA volleyball season

By Ron Giofu


The General Amherst Lady Gens emerged from the Christmas break with a match against Holy Names but it didn’t go the way they wanted.

The Lady Gens dropped to 6-1 on the WECSSAA Tier 1 senior girls volleyball season after the Knights left Amherstburg with a 25-19, 29-27 and 25-23 victory last Thursday night. It was their first match back for the Lady Gens as they had a bye last Tuesday.

General Amherst head coach Jeff Miller indicated that they haven’t been playing as well as they could have been lately and that it caught up with them.

General Amherst’s Vanessa Pidutti leaps for a ball during last Thursday’s match versus Holy Names.

“We finally got what we deserved,” said Miller. “We got away with it at the start of the year and we finally played a team that played well enough in crucial situations that made us pay for our mistakes.”

The biggest issue for the Lady Gens has been their communication, Miller stated.

“That’s one of the hardest things to teach to kids,” he said. “Kids today love cell phones so it’s difficult to get them to speak at sports fields or sports arenas.”

Noting that there is always something happening in volleyball, Miller noted that communication is “humungous.”

General Amherst’s Emma MacVoy lunges for a ball during last week’s loss to the Holy Names Knights.

“I’ve been harping on this for weeks now but I don’t think it sunk in because we were winning games,” said Miller.

Miller added that if communication and discipline doesn’t improve, the Lady Gens could have a tough time beating some of the talented opponents that are upcoming on their schedule. Two of those tough matches come this week. The Lady Gens were at Villanova Tuesday, after the print issue of the RTT went to press. They return home to host the Sandwich Sabres Thursday at 4 p.m. before concluding the season Jan. 21 with a 4 p.m. home game versus St. Joseph.

Admirals in tight race for top three position in playoffs



By Christian Bouchard


As the Amherstburg Admiral’s regular season is winding to a close, the team is eyeing a top three finish in the standings.

The Admirals braved the cold and picked up a win and 2 points in the standings Saturday as they defeated the Wallaceburg Lakers 5-0 in one of three outdoor games held at Lanspeary Park in Windsor. Broden Meloche would score twice for the Admirals while other goals were scored by Josh Talerico, Bryce McGregor and Caleb Paquette.

“I played in an outdoor game in Minor Midget at Comerica Park and it was fantastic,” said Meloche. “This game was just as good and an awesome experience.”

The Integrity Amherstburg Admirals took part in the PJHL Stobbs Division Outdoor Shinny Series and beat the Wallaceburg Lakers at Lanspeary Park in Windsor Jan. 12.

With temperatures reaching –6 degrees, Talerico said staying warm and adapting to the rough ice conditions were a few of the challenges that came with the outdoor game. He also said the team did a great job adapting to the conditions.

“It was a fun experience and something I’d love to do again,” said Talerico.

Looking to build off the combined shutout win, the Admirals would fall short Sunday night 3-1 to the Wheatley Sharks. Meloche would score the lone goal for the Admirals.

The Admirals have five games remaining this season and are 23-9-0-3, good for 49 points and fourth place in the Stobbs division of the Provincial Junior Hockey League.

According to Talerico, the remaining games for the Admirals are winnable, but the entire team needs to “buy in” and do the little things right to make a third-place position (or better) in the standings a reality.

Meloche agreed with his teammate and believes if the team wins the last five games in the regular season, the Admirals will lock up a top three finish in the standings.

Amherstburg’s Broden Meloche (71, blue jersey)
battles for the puck in front of the Wheatley net during Sunday night’s 3-1 loss. (RTT Photos by Christian Bouchard)

“We have loyal fans, and a lot of them are kids,” added Meloche. “The home crowd makes a big difference in playoffs. A top three finish for us would be huge.”

As of Sunday night, Dresden, Lakeshore and Amherstburg are all separated by five or less points with six or less games remaining before playoffs.

Amherstburg has back-to-back away games against Wheatley and Petrolia on Jan. 16 and Jan. 17 before returning home to host Wallaceburg Jan. 20. The Admirals will then travel to Essex Jan. 22 before hosting Wheatley in the final regular season game of the season.




Lady Gens battle goalie injury bug again this season



By Ron Giofu


The General Amherst Lady Gens were in action on the ice last week and the coaches were proud of their effort, despite the losses.

The Lady Gens fell 3-0 in Kingsville last Wednesday afternoon before heading to Essex the following day. The latter game saw General Amherst lose 6-0 but head coach Dan Pettypiece said the coaching staff was happy with their effort as they had to find a new goalie within the team as regular goalie Jaiden Stiles missed the game with a dislocated finger.

Phoebe Trealout stepped up and switched positions despite no previous experience playing goal.

Pettypiece said it was the third straight year the Lady Gens faced game action without their regular goalie, but he added that Trealout played well.

“The way she played in the first two periods gave us a chance to win,” said Pettypiece.

Pettypiece added of the team’s effort versus Essex: “We were really proud of the effort they showed today.”

The game versus Essex was played nine years to the day of the passing of Corey Meloche. Meloche was one of the players that helped found the girls hockey program at General Amherst but was killed in a snowmobiling accident.

Meloche’s jersey hung behind the General Amherst bench.

General Amherst’s Abby Bondy (19, left) escapes a check from an Essex player during last week’s game in Essex. The Red Raiders beat the Lady Gens 6-0.

“We wanted to dedicate the game to her and keep her spirit going,” said Pettypiece. “We try to tell the story of Corey and what she meant in getting this program started. She went above and beyond the call to get the girls hockey team started at General Amherst.”

If the Lady Gens had scored on some of the chances they had earlier in the game in Essex last Thursday, things may have turned out differently, Pettypiece speculated.

“If we buried a couple of those early chances, who knows? Hockey is a funny game,” he said.

Pettypiece added that the Lady Gens are a young team and have been playing against teams with a lot of older players.

“There’s a great amount of potential in that dressing room and they will be great in years to come,” he said.

Layne Sinasac said her teammate Trealout did a good job in net.

“It got pretty frustrating at the end,” she added after the Essex game. “The girls were so mean but we dealt with it.”

“The goalie is the toughest job on the team,” added Trealout. “Goalies deserve most of the credit.”

Trealout said she is usually on the other side shooting pucks at goalies, so she got a different perspective when she had pucks shot at her.

Local athlete training in Calgary in the sport of skeleton



By Ron Giofu


A local athlete is trying her hand in the sport of skeleton and is enjoying her new sport thus far.

Natalie Coughlin, who has a background in gymnastics and track and field, is now training in the sport of skeleton after being recruited by Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton over the summer. Coughlin watched the 2018 Winter Olympics from PyeongChang, South Korea and became intrigued after hearing about the RBC Training Ground during the coverage.

The 22-year-old Amherstburg native signed up for it and went through two rounds of testing in Waterloo, Quebec before being recruited by Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton.

“I did a training camp with them and I had to do more testing to hit their standard,” she explained.

Now that Coughlin has hit their standard, she is able to train out of Calgary where she has spent most of her time the last few months. She will soon be training in Whistler, British Columbia and may also train later in the season in Lake Placid, New York. All tracks have been used in the Olympics, she noted.

Natalie Coughlin is back in Calgary, where she trains in skeleton. She will be heading to Whistler, B.C. soon as well.

“Any track we go to is very historic,” said Coughlin.

Coughlin said she enjoys adrenaline sports, stating “there’s nothing else like it.” She said it is a sport that many have to try out before knowing for sure whether they like it and some find out they don’t when they go to the top of a track. However, she is enjoying herself so far, stating her gymnastics background comes in handy.

“It’s more of a body-awareness sport so gymnastics helps me that way,” she said. “When sliding you have to know where you are and what to do to compensate. You steer with your head, shoulders, knees and toes.”

Most rides take about one minute, Coughlin stated, and the highest speed she’s reached so far is 110 km/hr.

There is little to no opportunity to train locally, as tracks are only built for the Olympics, so she has to go out west to train. She still calls Amherstburg home when not training, but envisions moving to Calgary full-time to train.

Training includes four to five times sliding down the track and working with weights and on sprinting in the “Ice House” in Calgary. Expenses for trainees are covered by the athletes themselves, including equipment that has to be ordered from Germany.

“It adds up,” Coughlin said of the expenses.

The eventual goal is to be an Olympic athlete with Coughlin stating that could take six to eight years. In the meantime, she will try out for the national team in September and look to compete in the North America Cup, which includes Calgary, Whistler, Lake Placid and Park City, Utah.

Admirals play well during busy stretch



By Ron Giofu


The Amherstburg Admirals have been busy as of late and the results have been mostly positive.

After a 3-1 win over Petrolia Dec. 30, the Admirals went to Wheatley last Wednesday night and picked up a 5-2 victory. Dean DeLuca had two goals for Amherstburg while Travis Campbell, Cory Burns and Max Clifford also scored.

The only blemish over the weekend was a 5-2 loss in Lakeshore Friday night. Austin Jennings and Reid Steiler had the Amherstburg goals. The Admirals bounced back on the weekend at home with a pair of wins, starting with a 5-4 win Saturday night versus Blenheim. Caleb Paquette,Jennings, Josh DiCarlo, Amilio Acampora and Stieler scored for the Admirals but coach Paul Bortignon said they didn’t end the game they way they wanted, as they allowed three goals late in the game.

Amherstburg’s Josh Talerico (24, blue jersey) and Bryce McGregor (18) look for a scoring chance during Sunday’s 2-1 win over Dresden.

Jared Ratko played well Saturday night for the Admirals but Bortignon said his teammates “left him out to dry” late in that game.

The Admirals bounced back Sunday night with a solid 2-1 win over Dresden. Clifford and Josh Talerico got the Amherstburg goals. Dresden thought they tied it with 1:26 to play but the officials waved the goal off after it was ruled to be directed in with a glove.

“That’s a big win for us. We took three of four over the week,” said Bortignon after Sunday night’s game. “Friday night was tough but we bounced back (Saturday) night. Tonight, we battled hard and that’s nice to see. We were down bodies but the key was our depth.”

Bortignon said the win over Dresden was a “great effort” and that started with goalie Ben Larder and spread throughout the entire lineup.

Amherstburg’s Christian McBride tries to put one home during the Admirals’ 3-1 win over Dresden Dec. 30.

The Admirals are part of an outdoor series of games this Saturday as they play the Wallaceburg Lakers at Lanspeary Park in Windsor starting at 1:45 p.m. Bortignon said it was a good idea by the league to showcase itself. Bortignon said they don’t know what to expect in an outdoor game but “I think our guys will have fun with it.”

Other games at Lanspeary Park include Petrolia battling Lakeshore Friday night at 7:30 p.m. and Wheatley playing Blenheim at 5 p.m. Saturday, after the Admirals-Lakers game.

The Admirals return home Sunday night to host the Wheatley Sharks at 7 p.m.