Lady Gens

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 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.

Lady Gens looking forward to good season on the volleyball court

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Even though the General Amherst Lady Gens are hosting the OFSAA “AA” girls volleyball championship this season, they want to earn their way there instead of just playing in it as the host team.

Head coach Jeff Miller is optimistic about the current season, as WECSSAA play begins this week. The Lady Gens, who will play in WECSSAA Tier 1, could be formidable this season.

“It is our best group of athletes in the last three or four years,” said Miller. “I’m hoping we’re in the top four in the Windsor-Essex area.”

General Amherst’s Lexi Dodds (4) hits the ball into the air during the Lady Gens’ 3-0 win over
the visiting Tecumseh Vista Academy Vortex last Thursday afternoon.

By playing in Tier 1, it means the Lady Gens will be matched up against larger Windsor schools. When the playoffs come around in early 2019, the Lady Gens will be matched up against similar sized schools and Miller believes they will have a shot at a championship.

“I think it’s a legitimate goal to win (the WECSSAA) ‘AA’ senior title,” he said.

The Lady Gens have a lot of depth this season, with Miller stating they have players that have come up from junior plus numerous returning players.

“We have ten kids that I feel comfortable playing,” said Miller. “We haven’t had that for a couple of years.”

The increased depth allows the coaches to make in-game adjustments, he pointed out.

Miller said they want to enter the provincial tournament, which sees matches at General Amherst High School and the St. Clair College Sportsplex March 4-6, as champions.

“I think it would be nice to win Windsor-Essex and SWOSSAA and, even though we are hosting it, earn our way there,” said Miller.

Brynlee Ammonite (1, white jersey) spikes a ball back over the net during General Amherst’s win last Thursday afternoon.

Should they win WECSSAA and SWOSSAA, they would get a better seed at OFSAA, Miller stated.

The Lady Gens started the WECSSAA Tier 1 season in positive fashion last week, with a pair of wins. General Amherst swept all three sets in Kingsville by scores of 25-10, 25-11 and 25-16. The Lady Gens returned home Thursday afternoon and swept Tecumseh Vista Academy by scores of 25-16, 25-15 and 25-16.

The Lady Gens are on the road twice this week. Tuesday night’s game at Massey was played after this issue of the River Town Times went to press.

General Amherst plays at Kennedy Thursday at 4 p.m.

Jr. Lady Gens advance to WECSSAA “AA” final but lose to Kingsville

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Lady Gens junior girls basketball team made it to the WECSSAA “AA” final but came out on the short end of a 39-26 decision.

The Kingsville Cavaliers walked away as this year’s champions but there was not a lot of disappointment on the General Amherst side as this year’s team exceeded expectations.

“We said before the game about how many thought we’d make it this far,” said Greg Scott, who coached the team this year with Ben Pelger. “No one thought we would.”

The General Amherst Lady Gens made it to the WECSSAA “AA” final but lost 39-26 to Kingsville.

The Lady Gens kept it close in the first eight-minute quarter but the Cavaliers led 11-7. Kingsville would expand their advantage to 21-14 at the half and widened their lead further in the third quarter as they led 35-16 after three.

“It’s a great accomplishment to make it to the championship game,” said Scott. “You never know if you are ever going to make the championship game again so we told them to leave everything on the floor. We’re proud of the way things went. Ben and I enjoyed coaching the girls. They were a real pleasure to coach.”
Scott said the junior Lady Gens were polite and fun to coach, as the players went as far as to thank the coaches after practice. He said that while Kingsville plays together all year, the Lady Gens did well for only playing together in September and October.

The junior Lady Gens had three Grade 10 players and eight Grade 9 players and are hopeful for success next season if they get the eligible returning players to come back.

“We hope we can get back here again,” said Scott. “For the amount of time we had to work with them, they did a great job.”

Emma Pillon, who led General Amherst in the finals with 11 points, said they didn’t play as well as they could have early on but was happy with how the season went.

Emma Pillon (23) splits two defenders as she puts up a shot against Kingsville Sunday at St. Clair College.

“Overall, I thought we had a really good season,” said Pillon. “We went further than we thought we were going to go. We did really well.”

Pillon admitted it would have been better if they would have won Sunday’s game against Kingsville, played at the St. Clair College Sportsplex, but still was proud of how the junior Lady Gens performed.

“We grew a lot as a team this year,” said Pillon. “I thought we did very well.”

General Amherst got to the finals thanks to a pair of close wins on their home court last week. They defeated Catholic Central 27-22 in Thursday night’s semi-final while held on to beat Herman 26-24 last  Tuesday in a game where Herman mounted a comeback but saw the Lady Gens fight them off at the end.