St. Thomas of Villanova

Villanova student earns softball scholarship to American university

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The softball talents of Chloe Gignac have earned her a scholarship to an American university.

Gignac, a Grade 12 student at St. Thomas of Villanova Secondary School, has earned an academic and athletic scholarship to Spring Arbor University, located in Spring Arbor, Michigan. While she verbally committed about six months ago, the 17-year-old officially signed with Spring Arbor University last Wednesday afternoon in Villanova’s auditorium surrounded by friends and family.

“I’m pretty excited,” she said. “I’ve been working towards this goal for a while. It’s nice to finally get it accomplished.”

Chloe Gignac, a Grade 12 student at St. Thomas of Villanova Secondary School, officially signs with Spring Arbor University at a ceremony last Wednesday afternoon. At left is Spring Arbor head coach Deb Thompson with pitching coach Joe Robertson being at right.

Gignac said she started playing T-ball when she was five-years-old and transitioned into softball. She started playing in the United States when she was 12-years-old for the increased competition and has been playing there ever since.

Her choice of post-secondary institutions is something she is happy with.

“It’s obviously close to home. The coaches are great. It’s like a big softball family,” said Gignac.

Gignac pointed out it was “a choice between a couple of schools” but landed on Spring Arbor, adding the university has a beautiful campus. She also said she met the Spring Arbor team and that helped her with her decision as well.

The shortstop/outfielder said she enjoys everything about the sport.

Chloe Gignac (seated, at left) is joined by her family at the signing ceremony in the St. Thomas of Villanova auditorium last Wednesday. Also pictured are her
mother Deb, father, Perry and sister Avery.

“It’s a whole other world to escape to,” said Gignac. “I like the team atmosphere. I have such a good time.”

Gignac’s goals softball-wise is to help the Spring Arbor team be the best it can be over the four years she is there. Career-wise, she is undecided as to what her major will be.

Spring Arbor head coach Deb Thompson said they first noticed Gignac while she was playing for her U.S. team and it seemed like she would be a good fit for their program.

“She’s a great person. It seems she works very hard,” said Thompson. “We’re always looking for athletes who want to give it their all.”

Thompson said Gignac has good speed, a good arm as well as a good bat. Spring Arbor spent about one year scouting Gignac.

“She’s got a lot of tools she can use,” Thompson stated, who plans on using Gignac as a middle infielder and an outfielder.

Lady Gens come close against Villanova in one of two games last week

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Lady Gens were close to their first victory of the season last Tuesday but fell just short.

The Lady Gens went to Villanova but were defeated 42-38 in overtime. The game saw the Wildcats take a 20-17 lead at the half with Amherst tightening it to 27-25 after three quarters. With four minutes to go, Dani Brindley put the Lady Gens up 32-31 with the fourth quarter going back-and-forth the rest of the way.

Villanova had a 38-35 lead but Ramie Tytgat’s three-pointer with five seconds left in regulation put the game into overtime. However, Tytgat’s three-pointer would be the last points the Lady Gens would score as Villanova outscored the Lady Gens 4-0 in the four-minute overtime period.

General Amherst’s Lexi Dodds (35) drives to the basket during second half action last Tuesday at Villanova. The Wildcats defeated the Lady Gens 42-38 in overtime.

Lexi Dodds led Amherst in scoring against the Wildcats with 14 points while Brindley had 11 points. Tytgat scored nine points.

“There were crucial mistakes we made,” said General Amherst coach Dom Silvaggio. “In the first half, our defensive rebounding was non-existent. Out of (Villanova’s) 20 points, 14 of them came on second shot opportunities.”

Silvaggio believed the Lady Gens did a better job rebounding in the second half but added they also had problems with their shot selection.

“I think it comes down to making the right decisions when to shoot and when not to shoot,” said Silvaggio, adding there were three shots in the overtime period the Lady Gens took when they shouldn’t have.

The effort was better in two of the last three games, he said after the Villanova game.

“They didn’t quit,” said Silvaggio. “That’s good to see.”

The Lady Gens dropped to 0-7 on the season two nights later in a game at first-place Holy Names. The Knights knocked off the Lady Gens 42-22 with Holy Names improving to 5-1 with the win.

Taja Holmes scored nine points in the game for the Lady Gens.

General Amherst’s last scheduled regular season game is Thursday afternoon at Sandwich. The Sabres were 0-6 at press time.

Students at St. Thomas of Villanova put talents on display

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Students from St. Thomas of Villanova Secondary School took to the stage late last week to showcase the various talents they have.

There was an evening performance last Thursday where 16 acts went on stage in the school’s festival theatre. Judges pared the number of performers down to a list of ten for a daytime performance Friday.

Celine LaBrecque shows her rhythmic gymnastics skills during St. Thomas of Villanova’s talent show.

Celine LaBrecque shows her rhythmic gymnastics skills during St. Thomas of Villanova’s talent show.

Music teacher Ann Marie Brunet said the students auditioned to be part of the show. Once all is said and done, the annual talent show awarded a $100 first prize (won by Nick Unis and Lucas Rivard), a $75 second prize (won by Alexia Mathews) and a $50 third prize (won by Shawn Evon) with the “fan favourite” award also being $50. The latter was won by dancers Julian Alfuente, Gabe Madla and Nathan Serre.

“We do this every year. It helps to showcase their many talents the kids have here at the school,” said Brunet.

Brunet pointed out the acts were diverse in nature, from vocal performances to instrumental acts as well as dance and gymnastics. It is something the students always look forward to.

“They love it,” she said. “It gives them a chance to shine and be artistic.”

“It was amazing,” Mackenzie Caradonna said of the experience. “I love being on stage and I love being a part of the talent show.”

Regan White sings during St. Thomas of Villanova’s talent show last Thursday night.

Regan White sings during St. Thomas of Villanova’s talent show last Thursday night.

Caradonna performed the song “Different,” a song that she wrote herself when she was 13-years-old. She said it was inspired by her life and the tough times she has gone through.

“I really wanted to express that you can get through (tough times),” she said.

Nick Unis and Lucas Rivard had a drum battle. The pair closed last Thursday evening’s show with a rousing performance. Both said they have been playing the drums for approximately five years.

Regan White said she also enjoyed being a part of the talent show, and that she performs in a variety of places.

“I’m always performing,” said White. “I perform all the time.”

Mackenzie Caradonna sings “Different” as part of the show. It is a song that Caradonna wrote herself.

Mackenzie Caradonna sings “Different” as part of the show. It is a song that Caradonna wrote herself.

Performing at Villanova is always special for her, she said.

“I love performing at my school,” she said. “It’s so much fun.”

White added: “Performing is my life. I just love it.” She said she is thinking about doing it as a career, and credits teachers Brunet and Mary Jo Grado for helping to pull the talent show together.

“We’re all so grateful for that.”

Bulldogs looking for three periods of effort after tie and loss last week

 

By Ron Giofu

 

It was a frustrating week for the General Amherst boys hockey team.

The Bulldogs settled for a 4-4 tie with the Sandwich Sabres last Tuesday afternoon and were dropped 5-1 by the Villanova Wildcats last Thursday afternoon. Both games were at the Libro Centre.

Amherst built a 2-0 lead in the game against the Sabres but Sandwich built a 3-2 lead after two periods. The Bulldogs rallied in the third period for the tie. Brock Beaudoin had two goals for General Amherst with Max Clifford and Isaac Hammond scoring the others.

Villanova's Chris Francia splits a pair of General Amherst defenders during the Wildcats' 5-1 win Dec. 15.

Villanova’s Chris Francia splits a pair of General Amherst defenders during the Wildcats’ 5-1 win Dec. 15.

Hammond scored in the first period of Thursday’s game with Villanova with Chris Francia also scoring in that period for the Wildcats. It was a dominant second period by Villanova with Francia, Bryce MacGregor, Derek Berdusco and Dean DeLuca finding the back of the Bulldogs’ net.

“There’s another period of total breakdown on our behalf,” said General Amherst head coach Pat Garrett after Thursday’s game.

Garrett said they also had a breakdown in a period where they broke down against Sandwich and it cost them a point. He said they have had bad periods in most of their games this season, a season which has started 1-4-2.

The Bulldogs haven’t had a healthy lineup for most of the year, including some of their better offensive talent missing time. He said he wasn’t angry after Thursday’s loss to Villanova but was “a little frustrated.” He acknowledged they are a young team that requires patience.

Captain Reid Stieler said they didn’t play well in their own zone against the Wildcats and couldn’t get much going offensively either.

General Amherst’s Max Clifford (white jersey) gets a scoring chance last Thursday against Villanova.

General Amherst’s Max Clifford (white jersey) gets a scoring chance last Thursday against Villanova.

“I don’t think we had much going for us,” he said after Thursday’s game.

The Bulldogs will try to brush off the loss and look to improve, he said, and they will attempt to put that game behind them.

Stieler agreed they need to put in a full three period effort every game.

“We’ve just got to be better in all areas of the game,” he said. “Our whole group has got to step up.”

The Bulldogs are in a tournament this week that is hosted by Brennan but don’t play another WECSSAA Tier 1 league game until after the Christmas break. They play at the WFCU Centre against St. Joseph Jan. 10 before returning to the Libro Centre for a game with the St. Anne Saints Jan. 12.

Villanova homecoming ends in 41-34 loss

 

By Jonathan Martin

St. Thomas of Villanova Catholic High School’s homecoming game started out with promise.

Within the first minute of play, the home team had already scored a touchdown against Vincent Massey Secondary School. An hour and a half in, Villanova was still keeping a tight grip on its lead.

By the fourth quarter, though, the tides had turned.

The Villanova Wildcats (grey jerseys) try to take the ball from the Massey Mustangs in Villanova's 2016 homecoming game.  The Mustangs swiped the victory 41-34.

The Villanova Wildcats (grey jerseys) try to take the ball from the Massey Mustangs in Villanova’s 2016 homecoming game. The Mustangs swiped the victory 41-34.

“You gotta play all four quarters and they played a bit harder,” said Villanova head coach Sean Grondin. “They started piling guys up in the box. We had one and two-play drives that go for touchdowns. Eventually, if they start stopping those two drives, then we get in a little bit of trouble.”

“We knew coming in Villanova was a tough team,” Massey coach Dan Gray said. “But our team came together, our kids played well and so we couldn’t be happier with this win.”

Gray said Massey’s plan was to block running back Jacob Savoni, which he admits they largely failed to do.

The Villanova Wildcats and Massey Mustangs did battle in WECSSAA senior football action last Friday in LaSalle. Massey won 41-34.

The Villanova Wildcats and Massey Mustangs did battle in WECSSAA senior football action last Friday in LaSalle. Massey won 41-34.

“Our plan before the win started was to throw the ball like crazy,” Grondin said. “They know who Savoni is. The city knows who Savoni is. Ultimately, with this win, it kind of curtailed that and we went with out bell cow.”

The game ended with Massey stealing the game with a 41-34 win.

Villanova’s next game will be at Windsor Stadium Oct. 28. They will play Holy Names Catholic High School.