Essex stuns Lady Gens in OFSAA quarter-finals

 

By Joel Charron

Just like that, the dream of the General Amherst Lady Gens playing an OFSAA semi-final matchup on their home court were dashed.

The second ranked Lady Gens were defeated in an epic five set battle by rival Essex Red Raiders in the OFSAA quarterfinals at St. Clair College Tuesday afternoon.

The OFSAA matchup was the fourth time the two teams squared off, with Amherst coming out victorious in each match.

Amherst and Essex played a tight first set with the Lady Gens pulling away 25-17. Things started slipping away for the Lady Gens as they could not hold off Essex in the second game and lost 28-26.

Essex took the third set 25-21 but Amherst responded in the fourth set with a 25-19 win.

 

Jaylin VandeBovenkamp reaches high above the net to block an Essex hitter.

Essex prevailed in the fifth and deciding set 15-13 to complete the biggest upset of the 2012 OFSAA “AA” girls volleyball tournament.

“I’m obviously not excited,” said Lady Gens head coach Jeff Miller.   “The kids played hard, it just didn’t go our way.”

In the second set Miller said that he and assistant coach Mary Ewer noticed some disturbing trends the Lady Gens were falling into.

“The second set to me was the match,” said Miller. “Every chance we had we gave points away.”

The Lady Gens made a number of crucial services errors, including four in a row during the second set.

“They (Essex) served the ball in the court, we didn’t,” said Miller.

Miller noted volleyball is a game of composure and the Lady Gens lost their composure at crucial times.

Ewer added that she saw panic in the Lady Gens something that was surprising to her given many of the player have experienced playing in OFSAA.

Ewer mentioned, she didn’t want to make excuses for her squad but wondered if the Lady Gens were looking past Essex and toward the semi finals.

Many Amherst players were visibly upset, some breaking down in tears.

“It shouldn’t be over,” said co-captain Christine Belcher. “Essex did everything right. We underestimated them big time. We forgot it was OFSAA. We needed to a better job and didn’t.”

Co-Captain Alyssa Garrett described the loss as “heartbreaking.”

“We lost control in the second and third games,” said Garrett.

Garrett said she couldn’t put her finger on what went wrong.

“There was pressure but that’s not what got to us this game,” she said. “I don’t know what came over us. We just couldn’t finish.”

“I think we definitely underestimated them,” said Katie Breault. “it’s really hard to beat a team four times in a row.”

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