Craig Lohnes

Bulldogs volleyball season ends, though coach happy with progress

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Bulldogs senior boys volleyball season has ended, but the team’s coach was happy with how they progressed this season.

The Bulldogs didn’t put a senior team on the court last season, so this year’s team re-entered WECSSAA Tier 1 play with a young lineup. Their final regular season game was last Tuesday night at home versus the visiting Sandwich Sabres and the Bulldogs lost two sets to one. The Bulldogs lost the first set 25-18, and got down 9-0 in the second set before making it close though they lost 25-19. The Bulldogs won the third set 25-21.

Mason Foreman (15) tips the ball over the net during General Amherst’s match with Sandwich Oct. 30.

“We did pretty well,” said General Amherst coach Craig Lohnes. “They played well. We did a great job. I think the key for our players is passing. If we can pass, we can get set up in the middle and be a better team.”

The Bulldogs played well defensively, he believed, and Lohnes noted the Bulldogs players take pride in not letting the ball hit the floor.

“I’d say it is steady progress,” he said last Wednesday of his team’s performance this season.

Lohnes said the goal was to “finish better than we started” and believes they have done that. He noted the Bulldogs are a group of Grade 11 players who are improving.

“We look pretty good for next year,” said Lohnes. “Hopefully they have learned from this year and get better.”

General Amherst’s Riley Sesto (11) goes up for a block during last Tuesday’s game against Sandwich.

There are also some good junior-aged players that could also infuse more talent into the Bulldogs.

General Amherst started the playoffs last Thursday at Brennan, but the host Cardinals put an end to the Bulldogs’ season. The Cardinals defeated the Bulldogs 25-22, 25-22 and 25-19 in the first round of the WECSSAA “AA” playoffs.

 

Bulldogs showing progress on the volleyball court

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst senior boys volleyball team were on the court twice and experienced their first taste of victory.

While both matches were defeats, the Bulldogs scored a win in one of the three games against the Brennan Cardinals Thursday afternoon. Played at Brennan, the Bulldogs dropped the first two games 25-21 and 25-18 but rallied to win the third game 25-23.

The week started with a loss on the Bulldogs’ home court to Riverside last Tuesday evening. The visitors swept the Bulldogs in three straight sets, 25-17, 25-11 and 26-24.

Despite the loss, head coach Craig Lohnes was satisfied with his team’s performance.

Quenton Desjardins (14) of General Amherst bumps a ball back over the net during WECSSAA senior boys volleyball action last Tuesday night. The Bulldogs lost in three sets to Riverside.

“They are doing better, slowly but surely,” Lohnes said after last Tuesday evening’s match.

After a lopsided loss in the second game, Lohnes was pleased with how his team rebounded in the third match and nearly won it.

“They came back and had a good showing in the third game,” he said. “It would have been nice to finish off that set.”

Lohnes said the Bulldogs are getting better and applauded the work of his players, in particular those who come off the bench. He said it is tough to come off the bench cold and serve but credited players for doing just that. Players that stood out included Quenton Desjardins and Matteo Palumbo.

“We want to get better as the season progresses,” said Lohnes. “They are doing well.”

Riley Sesto (11) and Brady DeWaal (9) go up to block a ball at the net.

Lohnes added they knew Riverside had some talented players but thought the Bulldogs responded to the challenge.

“I thought we fared well with their skill level. We are happy with that,” he stated. “Riverside is a good team.”

The Bulldogs are in action only once this week, as St. Thomas of Villanova’s senior boys volleyball team comes to General Amherst for a 4 p.m. match Thursday.

Sr. Bulldogs excited to return to the volleyball court

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

After not having a senior boys volleyball team last season, the General Amherst Bulldogs are back on the court.

They opened the WECSSAA Tier 1 season with a 26-24, 25-15 and 25-12 loss to the Holy Names Knights on Bulldogs’ home court.

Despite the loss, General Amherst coach Craig Lohnes was pleased with the effort.

Benjamin Bezzoubkin returns a ball over the net during senior boys volleyball action last Tuesday evening at General Amherst.

“I thought they did a great job,” he said. “I’m proud of the guys. They did awesome.”

Most of the players are up from the junior ranks, he said, and they are learning their way in senior volleyball. Lohnes said the players are excited and geared up to have a team back on the volleyball court this season but noted the system is new for them and they are working hard at learning it.

“We’re looking forward to this year,” he said.

The expectation is to get better every game, Lohnes added, and to be a better team at the end of this season than at the start.

Joe Leroux hits the ball over the net during Sept. 25 volleyball action at General Amherst.

“We’ve got a great group of guys who work hard at practice. They take a lot of pride in not letting the ball hit the ground. They’ll dig and dive and work hard for every point,” said Lohnes.

The Bulldogs were at St. Anne last Thursday evening and lost 25-11, 25-19 and 25-19. They host Riverside Oct. 2 after the Oct. 3 prin issue of the River Town Times went to press and are at Brennan Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m.

General Amherst features two badminton champions

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A pair of General Amherst badminton players won SWOSSAA titles at the junior level and helped their team win junior gold at the same level.

Lexi Dodds, a Grade 9 student, and Matteo Palumbo, a Grade 10 student, won SWOSSAA singles titles at a recent competition held at Academie Ste.-Cecile to go with the WECSSAA achievements.

Palumbo said he was against twelve players in a double-elimination tournament. He had to overcome a loss but came back through the “losers’ bracket” and was still able to win gold including beating the competitor he lost to twice. He thanked coaches Nancy Loeffler-Caro and Craig Lohnes for their efforts.

“Nancy helped me throughout the season and Mr. Lohnes came to all the tournaments to help coach,” said Palumbo.

Noting his father got him started in the sport in Grade 1, Palumbo said he “fell in love with the game” from then on.

“It’s all about strategy, what shots you want to hit,” he said. “It’s a very strategic game.”

“For me at SWOSSAA, it was basically the same competitors from WECSSAA,” added Dodds.

Coaches Craig Lohnes (left) and Nancy Loeffler-Caro (right) stand
with SWOSSAA champions Matteo Palumbo and Lexi Dodds. (Submitted photo)

Dodds said SWOSSAA was tough because she was playing against other competitors that knew her strengths and weaknesses. She said she made it to the finals, lost the first set, but managed to win the rest to claim the title.

“Especially because I’m in Grade 9, it’s a big accomplishment,” said Dodds. “I never thought I was going to make it this far.”

Dodds agreed with Palumbo that it is a strategic game.

“I like how it’s a mental game and you don’t have to be the most athletic person to win,” she said.

Palumbo stated he practices Sunday nights with Loeffler-Caro during badminton seasons as well as with the school team while Dodds said she practices mainly with the school team.

“We ended up tying for the team championship with just two players,” he added.

As they are both juniors, neither have an OFSAA tournament to advance to as that is only available at the senior level.