Jay Shewfelt

St. Clair College soccer being played this season at the Libro Centre

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

With a new sports complex being built for St. Clair College athletics, its soccer program has once again found a temporary home.

And, once again, as it did a few years ago, the Saints will be calling that new, temporary home Amherstburg.

All men’s and women’s soccer games will be played this season at the Libro Centre. The teams play doubleheaders every game day with women’s games starting first, followed by the men’s games two hours later.

The St. Clair Saints women’s and men’s soccer teams will be calling the Libro Centre home this season. (Special to the RTT)

Jay Shewfelt, athletic coordinator at St. Clair College, said a 1,500-seat soccer stadium is part of the plans for the new sports complex with construction on that to start soon.

“We planned to play off-campus all along,” said Shewfelt.

Shewfelt noted that the Saints played here several years ago when their field at the college was in rough shape while the OCAA women’s provincial championship was in Amherstburg in 2016. While they considered other facilities to hold their home games in 2018, Shewfelt said it was an easy choice to come back to the Libro Centre.

“It’s a beautiful facility. We love it,” he said.  “The staff and the town treat us great. When it came down to it, it’s an easy decision for us to make.”

The first regular season home games are Tuesday evening against Fanshawe (women 5 p.m., men 7 p.m.), with the remainder of the home schedule sees Niagara come to the Libro Centre Saturday with the women’s game at 2 p.m. and the men’s game at 4 p.m.

Redeemer comes to town Sept. 29 with the women’s game at 2 p.m. and the men’s game at 4 p.m. Lambton plays St. Clair Oct. 4 with the women starting at 5 p.m. and the men at 7 p.m.

St. Clair hosts Mohawk at the Libro Centre Oct. 12 with the women at 5 p.m. and the men at 7 p.m.

A full schedule is at www.saintsathletics.ca.

 

Dillon Hayes of Amherstburg plays on the St. Clair Saints men’s soccer team.

Dillon Hayes of Amherstburg plays on the men’s team.

Shewfelt said there is the possibility of a sixth home game for the soccer teams depending on where they finish and what the playoff schedule looks like. He added that St. Clair College has reached out to the Amherstburg Soccer Club to invite them to the games, with the general public also welcome to attend.

“All of our games are free admission,” said Shewfelt.

Amherstburg, St. Clair College happy with OCAA women’s soccer championship

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The big winners of the OCAA women’s soccer championship were the Algonquin Thunder but the Libro Centre came away looking good as well.

The 2016 champion Thunder were crowned Saturday afternoon at the conclusion of a three-day tournament on the Libro Centre’s turf field as they beat the Humber Hawks 3-1. Humber had defeated the host team – St. Clair College – Thursday night.

St. Clair College’s Melanie Daniel (left) has the ball taken away from her by Fanshawe goalkeeper Ali Vlasman during the OCAA women’s consolation final last Saturday at the Libro Centre. Fanshawe won 1-0.

St. Clair College’s Melanie Daniel (left) has the ball taken away from her by Fanshawe goalkeeper Ali Vlasman during the OCAA women’s consolation final last Saturday at the Libro Centre. Fanshawe won 1-0.

St. Clair managed to get to the consolation final Saturday morning but lost a close 1-0 decision to Fanshawe. Saints coach Steve Vagnini said his team didn’t put away their chances while Fanshawe was able to convert on one of their opportunities.

“I thought we played well,” said Vagnini.

Mistakes and the ability to convert on those of other teams was the story of St. Clair’s season, he added.

“We’ve paid dearly for our miscues and we haven’t been able to make the other team pay for their miscues,” said Vagnini.

Noting the season isn’t a success unless you win it all, Vagnini acknowledged the Saints have a lot of rookies on the team and there is a lot to build on.

“They are our future,” he said.

Recruiting is important for St. Clair, he added, and that he uses the college itself as a recruiting tool.

“St. Clair has been a dream to work for,” said Vagnini, adding the school gives back to its athletes and students.

As for the host facility, Vagnini was impressed with the Libro Centre, calling it an “A-1 facility” with “A-1 service.” He said that was a feeling shared by other teams and other coaches as well.

Jay Shewfelt, athletic co-ordinator at St. Clair College, said they were pleased with the facility as well.

“It’s been perfect. The facility has been amazing,” said Shewfelt.

The college is happy with how things went, he added, and that staff were receptive to the needs of those involved with the tournament.

St. Clair College’s Melanie Jubenville (right) battles Humber College’s Emily Tirabassi during Thursday night action at the Libro Centre. St. Clair College hosted the OCAA Women’s Soccer Championship at the Libro Centre last Thursday through Saturday with Algonquin winning the gold medal.

St. Clair College’s Melanie Jubenville (right) battles Humber College’s Emily Tirabassi during Thursday night action at the Libro Centre. St. Clair College hosted the OCAA Women’s Soccer Championship at the Libro Centre last Thursday through Saturday with Algonquin winning the gold medal.

“Obviously we would have liked our team to do better but we’re proud of our team and the way they played,” said Shewfelt.

While St. Clair College is considering building its own facility, there is still a chance the Libro Centre could host a future tournament. The men’s tournament is something the college may look at hosting in three years and there wouldn’t be any hesitation in bringing it to Amherstburg should a new facility at the college not be available.

Teams from the province, including the Toronto and Ottawa areas, thought the Libro Centre was a wonderful facility, Shewfelt added. The addition of volunteer ball girls from the Amherstburg Soccer Club was a welcome addition as well with referees pleased with their performance.

“It’s been a nice touch to add to the tournament,” said Shewfelt.

The Diplomats Drum and Bugle Corps help officially open the OCAA Women's Soccer Championship Oct. 27.

The Diplomats Drum and Bugle Corps help officially open the OCAA Women’s Soccer Championship Oct. 27.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo said the town was pleased to have the OCAA women’s championship here and the mayor credited manager of recreation services Rick Daly for working to make it happen.

“It’s a really big honour to participate with St. Clair College in hosting the OCAA women’s soccer tournament in town. I heard nothing but great comments about the facility,” said DiCarlo. “People said we have the best around.”

DiCarlo added: “If all goes well, we can continue to pull in more events. I believe (Daly) is working at bringing in a lot more. It’s important to the town. It was also a lot of fun watching my alma mater play.”

OCAA women’s soccer championship to be at Libro Centre in October

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The St. Clair Saints women’s soccer team’s season is underway and they don’t have to worry about making the OCAA championship this year.

The Saints are the host team in this year’s provincial tournament, with that tournament coming to the Libro Centre in Amherstburg Oct. 27-29.

“We’re really excited for it. It’s a big deal for us and a big deal for Amherstburg,” said St. Clair College athletic director Jay Shewfelt.

The Saints’ opening game of the tournament is scheduled for 6 p.m. the Thursday of the tournament (Oct. 27) against an opponent not yet determined with three other games slated ahead of that game that Thursday. The first day of the tournament will be quarterfinals, the second day (Friday) being semi-finals with the finals being the Saturday of that weekend.

“It will be the top eight women’s soccer teams in Ontario,” said Shewfelt.

To host the championships, the host team has to have a turf field. While no such field exists at the college presently, St. Clair teamed with Libro Centre staff to bring the tournament to Amherstburg.

“As soon as we talked about hosting, it was our first choice,” Shewfelt said of the Libro Centre.

2016-17 OCAA Soccer

The Libro Centre has what they need, he explained, including changing rooms, officials rooms, the turf field, room for meals and the indoor soccer facility that can be used for practicing on if there is inclement weather.

“The facility is perfect and it’s not far from us,” he said. “It’s 25 minutes.”

Shewfelt praised manager of recreation services Rick Daly, who is also on the organizing committee.

“He’s been awesome helping us out,” said Shewfelt.

Games will be streamed online, he added. The college will also work with the Amherstburg Soccer Club and volunteers from the club will help in various roles during the OCAA tournament.

The Saints won OCAA bronze last year and look to be solid again this year. As of last Friday, the women’s team was ranked fifth in Ontario.

Tickets for the OCAA championship will be $5 for an adult day pass and $3 for students. He said special arrangements can be made for teams and groups wanting to come and watch the soccer action.

For more information, contact JShewfelt@stclaircollege.ca.