Jeff Miller

Jr. Lady Gens advance in WECSSAA “AA” volleyball playoffs

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst senior girls volleyball season may be finished, but the junior girls are still going.

The Jr. Lady Gens advanced in the WECSSAA “AA” volleyball playoffs last Thursday evening with a three-set sweep of the Essex Red Raiders in a match played at General Amherst High School. The Lady Gens, who were 8-2 in the regular season, defeated Essex 25-17, 25-20 and 25-15 to advance to the semifinals.

“The juniors have had a fantastic year,” said Jeff Miller, who coaches both the juniors and seniors at General Amherst. “Essex is way better than the ten-seed.”

The match versus the Red Raiders was good for the Lady Gens as they had to work for the victory.

“We played a really good, solid match to beat them,” Miller stated. “If we were sloppy, they could have knocked us off.”

Lexi Dodds hits the ball back over the net during General Amherst’s junior girls volleyball match with Essex Feb. 8.

General Amherst is the second seed in the WECSSAA “AA” playoffs and hope to eventually meet the top seed.

“The expectation is we want to be in the WECSSAA final and get another chance at Sandwich and put a scare into them,” said Miller.

This year’s junior Lady Gens team has been a pleasant surprise for coaches Miller and Christine Belcher.

“I thought we’d be a pretty solid group but I didn’t think we’d be second out of everybody,” said Miller.

The senior Lady Gens host the OFSAA “AA” championships next year and Miller believes that team will be “marketedly improved” as they will enter the provincial tournament as the host team.

The senior team will lose about five players to graduation but will have five returning players plus an influx of talent from this year’s junior team. The senior Lady Gens were eliminated from the WECSSAA playoffs in three sets last Tuesday, losing 25-18, 25-23 and 25-19 at Tecumseh Vista Academy. Miller said the seniors started playing better after the Christmas break but illness and injury didn’t help either.

“Unfortunately it was a little bit too late,” he said.

Lady Gens conclude WECSSAA Tier 1 regular season

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Lady Gens regular season is over in WECSSAA Tier 1 volleyball action.

The Lady Gens had a busy week in league action, but lost all of their matches. They lost two sets to one to visiting Essex last Thursday 17-25, 14-25 and 25-19 before dropping three straight to Tecumseh Vista Academy Wednesday. The latter was a make-up game from one that had been postponed due to a snowstorm in December.

evening. Emma MacVoy (left) goes up for the spike while Vanessa Pidutti hits the ball back over the net during a Jan. 16 match against Essex.

The Lady Gens travelled to LaSalle to play Sandwich last Thursday and the Sabres won 25-22, 25-9 and 25-23. First place Riverside came to Amherstburg Monday and won 25-17, 25-22 and 25-19.

“We’re just not playing well enough to beat anyone,” said General Amherst head coach Jeff Miller after the Essex game.

Assistant coach Mary Ewer added the Lady Gens have been battling a lot of illnesses lately and that while “it’s not an excuse,” they’ve had a limited number of players at recent practices.

The General Amherst Lady Gens hosted the Essex Red Raiders last Jan. 16. Emma MacVoy (6) goes up for the spike.

The game against Essex saw some players from the junior team get called up in order to have a full team of Lady Gens take the court.

“We had to shuffle things around just to play tonight,” Miller said last Tuesday.

With the busy week, the coaches agreed it wasn’t a good time to have to battle illnesses but said they have to work through it.

WECSSAA playoffs are scheduled to begin after the exam break.

Lady Gens volleyball team falls short versus Holy Names

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Lady Gens senior girls volleyball team had their first WECSSAA Tier 1 volleyball game after the Christmas break and they came out on the short end.

The Lady Gens hosted the Holy Names Knights last Thursday and lost two sets to one to drop their overall record to 1-5 on the Tier 1 season. The two teams played a tightly contested first set with Holy Names edging the Lady Gens 25-23.

General Amherst’s Bryanna France hits the ball back over the net during last Thursday’s match with Holy Names.

General Amherst came out flat in the second set, as they trailed 5-0 early en route to dropping the set 25-17. Holy Names looked to be in line for a sweep as they led 22-17 in the third set but the Lady Gens rallied and scored eight of the last nine points to win 25-23.

“It was OK,” Amherst head coach Jeff Miller, said of the match. “It was a game where we had a legitimate opportunity to win. It’s good that we at least got one set out of it.”

Miller said the Lady Gens had an opportunity to win the first set but couldn’t finish the Knights off.

“When the pressure was on to win the first set, we were more panicky than they were,” he said.

General Amherst’s Ramie Tytgat (2) and Reese Jones (8) go up for a block during WECSSAA volleyball action Jan.11 against Holy Names.

The win in the third set could prove to be important as Miller said all points matter in the battle for playoff positioning.

“Our effort has to be more consistent,” he said. “We play well for eight to ten point stretches, then poorly for 12-15 point stretches.”

The Lady Gens have to communicate and hustle consistently throughout matches. When things go poorly, “they other team can take it to you for a while.”

The Lady Gens hosted Essex Tuesday night after this issue went to press and host Tecumseh Vista Academy tonight (Jan. 17) at 4 p.m. They also play at Sandwich Thursday at 4 p.m. before wrapping up the regular season at home with a game against Sandwich next Monday at 5:20 p.m.

Lady Gens rebound after season opening volleyball loss

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

After a season opening defeat at the hands of a strong Kingsville Cavalier team last Tuesday, the General Amherst Lady Gens senior girls volleyball team rebounded well two days later.

The Lady Gens lost 25-13, 25-10 and 25-8 in Kingsville but then swept the visiting Massey Mustangs 25-19, 25-22 and 25-15 in a match played at General Amherst High School to even their WECSSAA Tier 1 record at 1-1.

General Amherst’s Vanessa Pidutti spikes the ball during last Thursday evening’s senior girls volleyball match against Massey.

“We played much better today,” General Amherst head coach Jeff Miller said after Thursday’s match. “We played to our ability level. We played a much better defensive effort. We moved on defense and then we were more fluid on offence.”

Miller said the first game against Kingsville was tough as the Cavaliers return the bulk of their players from a team that went to OFSAA last season.

“We struggled and they jumped right on us and made us pay,” said Miller. “They gave us a serious kick in the butt.”
The Lady Gens rebounded well against a team in Massey that they thought going in they could beat if they played well.

Miller said they need Vanessa Pidutti and Emery Lucier, the latter a Grade 9 player, to be good outside hitters. They were able to be that against the Mustangs.

General Amherst went up against the Massey Mustangs last Thursday evening. Payton Laing hits the ball back across the net.

“(Thursday), they kind of dominated the game offensively. They didn’t make many errors and got a bunch of hits. They played the way they need to play if we want to get a bunch of wins.”

The Lady Gens’ success in Tier 2 last year moved them back up into the top tier this season but Miller said the program continues to develop. General Amherst hosts OFSAA next year and while they want to do well this season, the Lady Gens also have an eye for the future.

“We’re building for next year and beyond,” said Miller.

Lucier believed the Lady Gens played well Thursday, adding they “got better as the match went on.”

Emery Lucier spikes the ball over the outstretched arms of a Massey defender.

The Kingsville game was a difficult one, she stated, as she thought the team let the fact they were playing Kingsville get into their heads and drain their confidence before the match even started. She said she has been welcomed to the team as a Grade 9 player and enjoys the level of competition in senior girls volleyball.

“It’s harder but it’s going to challenge me and the team to play better,” she said.

Lucier added the focus is this season.

“I want to win,” she said.

The Lady Gens were at St. Joseph Tuesday after this issue went to press but have a 7 p.m. home game Thursday against Tecumseh Vista Academy.

Local golfer wraps up successful season, goes to OFSAA

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A local youth golfer did well this past season, including strong performances with his school’s golf team.

Josh DiCarlo of General Amherst High School was the individual SWOSSAA champion shooting a -4 (68) at the SWOSSAA championship.  He went on to OFSAA and fired rounds of 73-78 – 151 (+7) in some pretty tough conditions to finish 18th out of 120 players at the OFSAA Championship.

The 16-year-old Grade 11 student said that he made five birdies as part of the SWOSSAA tournament and was happy with how he shot in the first round at OFSAA.

“My mind stayed in the moment,” he said.

DiCarlo said conditions were hard both days and was also satisfied with his second day at OFSAA.

“It was hitting my drives well. The putts weren’t falling,” he said. “I still had fun with the kids I played with.”

General Amherst golfer Josh DiCarlo finished first at SWOSSAA and finished a respectable 18th out of 120 golfers at OFSAA.

DiCarlo is no stranger to tournament success, winning five times in 2017 on the AJGA, GAO and MJT golf circuits, the latter being a tournament in Calgary. He also finished sixth on the Jamieson Tour.

Noting that he would still like to strengthen the mental aspect of his game, DiCarlo said he likes the individual challenges of golf.

“I like how you can’t blame anyone for a mistake,” he said. “It’s all on you.”

DiCarlo said his love of golf started when he went with his father Mark to Oxley to play and his passion grew to where he golfs daily at Pointe West when the whether permits. He plays in tournaments across Ontario, travels to Ohio and elsewhere when he is given the opportunity.

“I’m hoping to get a scholarship,” he said. “I’m going to keep working hard and keep my grades up.”

DiCarlo also thanked his parents Mark and Michelle for “for allowing me to play the sport I love” and General Amherst golf coach Jeff Miller for “everything he does for the golf program.”