senior girls volleyball

OFSAA volleyball action starts today, banquet held Sunday night


By Ron Giofu

The OFSAA “AA” senior girls volleyball tournament is getting started between Amherstburg and Windsor but one member of the host General Amherst team has already won an award.

Assistant coach Mary Ewer was honoured at Sunday night’s OFSAA banquet at the St. Clair Centre for the Arts in Windsor with the OFSAA Leadership and School Sport Award. Presented by tournament co-convener and Lady Gens head coach Jeff Miller, the award recognized Ewer’s years of work in both elementary and high school sports.

Mary Ewer won the OFSAA Leadership and School Sport award during the banquet for the OFSAA “AA” volleyball tournament March 3. Making the presentation is General Amherst head coach Jeff Miller. Tournament action runs March 4-6 between General Amherst High School and the St. Clair College Sportsplex.

Miller noted that Ewer “dedicated her whole life and career to sports” and that she has spent 20-plus years at the high school level coaching, including six OFSAA medals in the past. About 17 of those years have seen the two coach the Lady Gens together.

Ewer said she was “shocked and honoured” to receive the award.

“I was totally shocked,” she said. “I had no idea. It’s an honour, especially that Jeff gave it to me. It’s very wonderful.”

Miller thanked the volunteers, fellow co-convener Greg Scott and the sponsors for helping plan the provincial volleyball tournament, which has seen 20 teams from around Ontario come to the area. He gave special thanks to his wife Nicole for her support as well.

General Amherst head coach Jeff Miller (right) receives an award from OFSAA representative Tom Couvillion for his efforts in organizing the OFSAA “AA” senior girls volleyball tournament. The OFSAA banquet was Sunday night at the St. Clair Centre for the Arts.

Cathy George, head volleyball coach at Michigan State University, was guest speaker and encouraged the roughly 250 players in attendance to use the gifts they have.

“I believe everyone has gifts,” she said. “Everyone makes your team stronger.”

George encouraged the teams to have fun and enjoy the experience but “go out there and run through a wall.” She also stated that the girls can use the tournament to become better as people and wanted them to give back to others.

“You have to be a giver. You have to make a difference in the world,” she said.

Lucas Hodgson, head coach of the women’s team at the University of Windsor, also encouraged the students to “take it all in” and enjoy the experience while OFSAA representative Tom Couvillion said the same thing.

“Make sure you enjoy it,” said Couvillion.

General Amherst vice principal Bonnie DesJardins brought greetings from both the school and the Greater Essex County District School Board.

Action runs Monday-Wednesday at the St. Clair College Sportsplex and General Amherst High School. Championship matches will be at General Amherst. Tickets are $20 for an adult tournament pass, $10 for a student tournament pass, $10 for an adult day pass and $5 for a student day pass. Children under 13 are free.

Lady Gens capture SWOSSAA “AA” volleyball championship



By Ron Giofu


The General Amherst Lady Gens were already going to the OFSAA “AA” championships as the host team, but have now earned the right to be there based on their play.

The Lady Gens won the SWOSSAA “AA” title last Friday night on their home court, thus solidifying their position as a provincial-calibre senior girls volleyball team. However, they made things dramatic for themselves and their fans as they needed five sets to defeat the visiting Chatham John McGregor Panthers. The match was almost a reversal of the previous week’s WECSSAA title win over Essex, as it was the Lady Gens who won the first two sets before losing the next two. General Amherst was able to rally and win the decisive fifth set to claim the title.

The scores were 25-12, 25-20, 18-25, 22-25 and 15-5.

“It’s awesome. We’re really excited,” said Emma MacVoy.

The General Amherst Lady Gens captured the SWOSSAA “AA” title with a five-set win over Chatham John McGregor last Friday night. Bottom row, from left: Lexi Dodds, Elyssa Grondin, Abby Orchard, Lizzy Homeniuk-Smith, Emma MacVoy. Top row, from left: coach Jeff Miller, Danielle Brindley, Allison Dufour, Brynlee Ammonite, Emery Lucier, Ramie Tytgat, Vanessa Pidutti and coach Mary Ewer.

MacVoy said they thought they would win and thought they had a chance to win in three straight games. They were a bit caught off-guard but John McGregor’s comeback in the third and fourth games but rebounded in the fifth and final set.

“We shook up the lineup a bit,” said MacVoy. “It was definitely fun.”

The Lady Gens got down on themselves in the third and fourth sets, she added, but were able to rebound.

“We were just thinking ‘why do we do this to ourselves?’” she said. “Why not pound the ball and get it in there?”

MacVoy added that “it was awesome to prove we deserve to be at OFSAA. We earned our spot. We worked our butts off, practicing every day even on snow days.”

Assistant coach Mary Ewer said they played well in the first set and were fine in the second but the “blocks were non-existent” in the third and fourth sets.

“Everything was the opposite of the first two games,” said Ewer.

The Lady Gens played hard in the fifth game and were able to win it.

Emma MacVoy (2) spikes the ball over the net during the SWOSSAA “AA” final at General Amherst Feb. 22.

“Near the end, we served tough,” said Ewer.

Head coach Jeff Miller said they played great in the first set but “struggled in the second set and got through it.”

“Realistically, I thought John McGregor outplayed us most of the second, third and fourth sets. We were fortunate to come out on top in the second set,” he said.

The serving was going well early, he added, but that was problematic in the middle of the match.

“We could never sustain momentum because we were making service errors,” he said. “In the fifth game, the kids did a good job resetting and going back to basics. We made good plays and forced (John McGregor) into errors.”

The field is not quite set for OFSAA but 20 teams from around Ontario will be playing matches at both General Amherst High School and the St. Clair College Sportsplex. Miller said there are about 50-60 kids from General Amherst volunteering and sponsorships are going OK. Individuals and businesses looking to sponsor the tournament or be part of the tournament brochure can contact Miller at 519-736-2149 or People can also send inquiries to or call 226-350-5900. Cheques are payable to General Amherst High School.

Allison Dufour (12) and Brynlee Ammonite (1) go up for a block at the net.

OFSAA starts March 3 with the banquet with matches running March 4-6. The final matches will be in Amherstburg.

Tickets are $20 for an adult tournament pass, $10 for a student tournament pass, $10 for an adult day pass and $5 for a student day pass. Children under 13 are free.

Matches will also be streamed on YouTube by following 2019 OFSAAVB GAHS Court or 2019 OFSAAVB St. Clair Court.

To see more photos from the SWOSSAA “AA” title game, visit our Facebook photo album.

Lady Gens bounce back with win after losing previous two matches



By Ron Giofu


The General Amherst Lady Gens senior girls volleyball team responded well in their match last week against Sandwich after they had suffered two straight defeats.

The Lady Gens (7-2) knocked off the visiting Sandwich Sabres two sets to one, winning 25-10- 25-19 and 20-25 last Thursday afternoon. That snapped a two-game losing streak as they had been defeated two days earlier at Villanova by scores of 25-11, 25-17 and 25-20.

“I liked our level of play,” said assistant coach Mary Ewer.
Ewer said “there’s still room for improvement” and believed they took advantage of a team last Thursday that wasn’t ready to play. She believed the Lady Gens’ effort was better against Sandwich as they played better collectively and “picked each other up” better than they have been in their more recent games.

General Amherst’s Elyssa Grondin (10, right) hits the ball over the net during last Thursday’s win.

“I liked their whole demeanor today on the court,” she said. “Hopefully we have turned the corner from the other two matches we lost.”

Head coach Jeff Miller was also encouraged by what he saw.

“We came out and had a good start,” he said. “We served really well and put their receiver under a lot of pressure.”

The Lady Gens also played solid defense, Miller added, and forced a lot of errors.

Against Villanova, who is undefeated in WECSSAA Tier 1 play this season, Miller conceded the better team won.

“We were shorthanded a bit,” said Miller. “We didn’t play well. They played well. Villanova outplayed us and deserved to win the game.”

Miller still believes the Lady Gens are a “work in progress” and “there’s still things we can get a little bit better at.”

Lady Gens pick up two more wins on the volleyball court



By Ron Giofu


The General Amherst Lady Gens picked up a pair of wins on the volleyball court last week.

The Lady Gens improved to 6-0 on the WECSSAA Tier 1 senior girls volleyball season, winning both matches on their home court. After General Amherst opened the week with a 25-22 25-18 and 25-14 win over the St. Anne Saints last Tuesday, they returned to their home court Thursday where they knocked off the visiting Essex Red Raiders 18-25, 25-22 and 25-18.

Teammates Vanessa Pidutti and Brynlee Ammonite knew they were in a tough game with the Red Raiders.

“I think the last two (sets) were definitely better than the first one,” said Pidutti, as the Lady Gens had to rally to win the last two sets to win the match.

Emery Lucier plays the ball during a WECSSAA senior girls volleyball match at General Amherst High School. The Lady Gens won the match two sets to one.

The Lady Gens made fewer errors in the latter two sets though Pidutti credited Essex as being a good team that hustled on the court.

“We know the next time we play them, we’ll have to bring our ‘A’ game,” said Ammonite.

The Lady Gens were slow and not talking in the first set, Pidutti noted, but stated the communication improved in sets two and three. Pidutti added they would get upset in the first game whenever they made a bad play.

“We wouldn’t let go of our errors,” said Ammonite.

Pidutti and Ammonite believed they played well in the recent Black & Gold Volleyball Classic, which General Amherst hosted and won, but Ammonite believed they still have to be more consistent with their serves.

“It’s the communication we really have to work on,” added Pidutti.

The Lady Gens do not play again until Jan. 10 when the Holy Names Knights come to town.

Emma MacVoy spikes the ball over the net during General Amherst’s win over the visiting Essex Red Raiders.

“The break will give us a rest,” said Pidutti.

Ammonite said they will come out of the break with hard practices to get them ready to go.

“We’re looking forward to next year as we’re hosting OFSAA,” stated Pidutti.

Despite the fact the Lady Gens get an automatic berth as the host team, both Ammonite and Pidutti stated they want to be there as WECSSAA and SWOSSAA “AA” champions.

“We’re trying to work towards earning it,” said Pidutti.

For more photos from the match against Essex, please click here for the link to the photo album.

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.