General Amherst

Lady Gens capture WECSSAA “AA” volleyball championship


By Ron Giofu


Even though the General Amherst Lady Gens are guaranteed a spot in the OFSAA “AA” provincial senior girls volleyball tournament as the host team, they want to earn their spot there.

They took a step towards that goal by winning the WECSSAA “AA” senior girls volleyball title last Thursday night in a thrilling, back-and-forth match.

The General Amherst Lady Gens won the WECSSAA “AA” title by beating Essex Feb. 14 at the St. Clair College Sportsplex. Top row (from left): head coach Jeff Miller, Danielle Brindley, Allison Dufour, Ramie Tytgat, Brynlee Ammonite, Emma MacVoy, Vanessa Pidutti, assistant coach Mary Ewer. Front row (from left): Lexi Dodds, Emery Lucier, Abby Orchard, Elyssa Grondin, Lizzy Homeniuk-Smith.

The Lady Gens faced off against the Essex Red Raiders at the St. Clair College Sportsplex and, through the first two sets, it appeared as if the championship would be going to Essex. The Red Raiders controlled the first two sets, winning 25-17 and 25-18, but lineup shuffling from head coach Jeff Miller helped the Lady Gens turn the momentum. General Amherst took control in the third set 25-9 and maintained it in the fourth set and won that 25-15.

That set up a decisive fifth and final game to decide the championship. It would be the Lady Gens that surged ahead and captured the championship as they won the fifth set 15-12.

“We changed the lineup following the first two games,” said team captain Vanessa Pidutti. “It just changed the energy and obviously we had the energy the last three games.”

Pidutti said they made a lot of errors early on and got down on themselves but the lineup changes energized the Lady Gens from that point on. They were able to pick themselves up and gather the momentum to take them to the championship.

“It feels really good,” Pidutti said, of winning the Windsor-Essex County “AA” title. “We’ve come a long way as a team. We’ve improved both individually and as a team. We want to earn our way to OFSAA even though we’re hosting it.”

Team captain Vanessa Pidutti accepts the plaque from Greg Scott after General Amherst won the WECSSAA “AA” senior girls volleyball title Feb. 14.

Assistant coach Mary Ewer said they had a better warmup 24 hours earlier before they defeated Tecumseh Vista Academy 25-13, 25-13 and 25-12. She said they seemed nervous prior to the Essex match as opposed to the night before when they played likely their best match of the season. Ewer also credited Miller for making the necessary lineup changes that helped get the Lady Gens over the top against the Red Raiders.

“We flipped it around a bit,” said Miller. “We just needed a different energy. We can’t do the same things and expect a different result. We needed a different look to change the energy.”

For additional photos from the Feb. 14 match, visit our Facebook album.

The Lady Gens now host SWOSSAA this Friday evening and Miller says he feels good about the team heading into that match. OFSAA will be March 3-6 with matches to be held at General Amherst High School and St. Clair College.

Lady Gens advance in WECSSAA “AA” volleyball playoffs



By Ron Giofu


The General Amherst Lady Gens advanced in the WECSSAA “AA” senior girls volleyball playoffs last week with a quarterfinal win over Kingsville.

The Lady Gens, who finished the regular season 8-2, swept the Cavaliers 25-19, 25-12 and 25-9 last Thursday night at General Amherst. The match didn’t start as well as the Lady Gens would have hoped, with assistant coach Mary Ewer pointing out that Kingsville went hard after every ball in the first set while the Lady Gens didn’t come out as strong as they could have.

General Amherst’s Vanessa Pidutti (9) leaps in order to hit the ball over the net during her team’s sweep of the Kingsville Cavaliers in WECSSAA “AA” girls volleyball playoffs Feb. 7.

The two teams were tied at ten in the second set, but Ewer pointed out that Dani Brindley got on a roll with her serving and that led to 14 points for General Amherst.

“In the third set, we took it to them,” said Ewer.

Head coach Jeff Miller agreed that “we did not play well in the fist game. We were pretty sloppy.” He added that in the second half of the second set is when they pulled it together.

Miller noted they didn’t warm up well and that carried over into the match.

“You can pretty much tell where their mind is,” he said.

Miller added that Brindley’s serving helped turn the game into the Lady Gens’ favour.

“She served some bullets to the right areas and we got some confidence from Dani’s good serving,” said Miller.

The Lady Gens hosted the semi-finals Tuesday night after this issue of the RTT went to press. If they advanced, the finals will be Thursday night at St. Clair College at 7:30 p.m.

“It would be nice to have a good week and bring the trophy back,” said Miller.

General Amherst also played in a Chatham-Kent tournament the weekend before and finished third out of 15 teams. Miller said the field was made up of “AAA” level talent and that the Lady Gens fared well.

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.

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.

Bulldogs fall to 0-3 after loss against undefeated St. Anne team



By Ron Giofu


The toughest part of the General Amherst Bulldogs boys hockey team schedule is the early portion but they are fighting their way through it.

The Bulldogs dropped to 0-3 on the WECSSAA boys hockey season after a 3-1 defeat at the hands of the St. Anne Saints last Thursday afternoon at the Libro Centre. The win boosted St. Anne’s record to 5-0.

Jacob Howson scored the Bulldogs only goal of the game, as he poked home a rebound midway through the third period. The Bulldogs were without their number one goal Jacob Lister as he missed the game due to illness.

General Amherst head coach Pat Garrett believes the young team is making progress.

Jacob Howson of the General Amherst Bulldogs breaks in for a scoring chance during last Thursday afternoon’s WECSSAA boys hockey game against the St. Anne Saints.

“I think we’re coming,” said Garrett. “I think our backup goalies did a great job.”

The Bulldogs trailed 3-0 heading into the third period and Garrett said their goal at that point was just to win the third period, which they did.

“I’m really impressed with the young players,” he said. “The Grade 9’s and 10’s played well. That’s exciting for the future.”

Garrett called the 2018-19 WECSSAA schedule “front loaded” with the games with the larger, stronger schools at the beginning and the games with schools similarly sized to General Amherst towards the latter portion of the season. The Bulldogs have four league games over the next two weeks heading into the Christmas break as well as a tournament.

“We’re going to get an opportunity to put six or seven games together,” he said. “I think we’ll be a much better team once we get those games in.”

Drake McGowan gets a shot on goal during last Thursday’s game at the Libro Centre.

Garrett said they only have a handful of skaters and one goalie back from last year, but he is happy with the talent level he sees on the young Bulldogs team. He notes most of the team are new faces and that they are performing better than expected.

“It’s quite a bit different,” he said of this year’s team, as they usually have more players that returned from the previous year.

The Bulldogs played Tuesday against L’Essor at Tecumseh Arena after the print issue of the RTT went to press. They host Tecumseh Vista Academy at the Libro Centre Thursday at 2:30 p.m.