Villanova Wildcats

Lady Gens battle St. Anne and Villanova on the court



By Ron Giofu


The General Amherst Lady Gens are still a work in progress after dropping to 1-5 last week.

The Lady Gens most recent game was a 36-23 loss at Villanova, a game in which was possibly their most frustrating effort of the season. The Lady Gens trailed 16-6 at the half and head coach Dom Silvaggio couldn’t grasp why the Lady Gens played so poorly in the opening 16 minutes of play.

“I was at a loss for words,” he said.

Recalling their better effort versus top teams like Holy Names and Lajeunesse, Silvaggio was hoping his team would have shown the same type of effort against Villanova. They played better in the third quarter, even tying the game at 18 at one point, before Villanova went on a run to take a 24-19 lead after three quarters.

The third quarter showed what they are capable of, he said, but the play fell off a bit in the fourth quarter.

General Amherst’s Taja Holmes drives to the basket during an Oct. 11 WECSSAA senior girls basketball game at Villanova.

Silvaggio pointed out they weren’t good from the free throw line, either. The Lady Gens shot six-for-28 from the charity stripe.

“We’re going to struggle offensively,” he said. “What bothered me (Thursday night) was the lack of defensive intensity.”

The game was “very, very frustrating” at points and believed they had a shot to beat Villanova, whom he believed was a relatively evenly-matched opponent.

“There were so many unforced turnovers,” he added. “This is a game we could have won. If we played better in the first half, would the result have been different?”

The previous game was a 54-18 loss at home to the St. Anne Saints.

One player hit seven three-point shots, said Silvaggio, stating that they didn’t play well enough defensively against her.

General Amherst’s Lexi Dodds (35) tries to dribble away from a Villanova defender during the Oct. 11 game.

“There was no one in her face at all,” said Silvaggio. “That was the most disappointing part of that game.”

The Lady Gens played well in spurts against St. Anne, he added, but they couldn’t string an entire game together.

General Amherst hosted Kennedy Tuesday night after the print issue of the RTT went to press in what is the only game this week for the Lady Gens.

Bulldogs drop to 0-4 after loss to Villanova



By Ron Giofu


The General Amherst Bulldogs senior boys basketball team went into the Christmas break 0-4 after a 40-35 loss to the Villanova Wildcats.

The Wildcats looked to have the game well in hand in the first half, as they built a 11-5 lead after one quarter and a 22-8 halftime advantage. However, a lively third quarter saw General Amherst score 20 points in those eight minutes alone as they outscored Villanova 20-11 in the quarter to make it a 33-28 lead going into the fourth quarter.

However, Villanova held off General Amherst and came away with the win.

Sebastian Hebert, one of the General Amherst captains, said it was a fast-paced game and said they had “a good comeback” in the third quarter.

“It was really back-and-forth,” said Hebert. “We played good defense.”

Hebert attributed the third quarter surge to a boisterous fan base.

Villanova’s Ben Diab (30) attempts a shot over General Amhest’s Kale DeCarlo during the Bulldogs’ most recent home game. Villanova won 40-35.

“We had a good crowd and a lot of support,” he said.

Hebert added they shot the ball better and made better passes in the game against the Wildcats.

General Amherst coach Ben Pelger said he knew it was a rivalry game and that both enjoy playing one another.

“Our team had a slow start,” he said. “Then we really came together as a team.”

The Bulldogs were hamstrung by the fact they lost three players to foul trouble late in the game.

“No excuses,” Pelger stated. “(Villanova) played great.”

General Amherst’s Joe Leroux (55, left) drives to the basket during first half action against the Villanova Wildcats. Defending Leroux is Villanova’s James Hanlon (20). Villanova won the senior boys basketball game 40-35.

Pelger also pointed out the fan support, adding “we started making shots.” He said they got more aggressive in the third quarter but that led to the foul trouble.

Villanova also got the win in the junior game, which preceded the senior game. The Wildcats won 64-29.

“They are improving every game. They came out aggressive today,” said Pelger. “They had a good third quarter and proved they can play with other teams.”

The junior Bulldogs picked up their first win of the season 24 hours later when they travelled to Windsor and downed Westview Freedom Academy 71-25.

Both teams resume play Jan. 9 when St. Joseph comes to town then play at Belle River two days later.

Jr. Bulldogs lose to Villanova 41-1



By Ron Giofu


It wasn’t a game that the General Amherst Bulldogs junior football team will consider their finest.
For the Villanova Wildcats, last week’s game will provide them with better memories.

The Wildcats knocked off the visiting Bulldogs 41-1 last Tuesday afternoon in a game played at St. Thomas of Villanova Secondary School. Villanova did the bulk of its scoring in the first half with General Amherst coach Dino Rosati stating his team showed some improvement in the second half.

Eric Blanchette (11, left) throws a pass during fourth quarter action Oct. 17 at Villanova. Villanova won 41-1.

“It didn’t quite go the way we wanted,” Rosati remarked after the game.

Quarterback Emmitt Rosati missed the game due to a sprained ankle with Eric Blanchette and Nolan Crain splitting time under centre against Villanova.

“They both did an OK job,” said Rosati, noting the two back-up quarterbacks picked up valuable experience they didn’t have before.

“They played pretty well for never having played that spot before,” said the head coach.

Other players managed to get on the field and get some experience as well, Rosati added.

“We got a lot of kids in there. We see some positives,” said Rosati. “We got a lot of kids some experience.”

Preston Muzzin (84) reels in a pass against Villanova during General Amherst’s 41-1 loss to the Wildcats Oct. 17.

The second half was better because of the defense, he believed.

Anthony Paossi scored three touchdowns for Villanova with Dawson Taylor, Josh Rosa and Jaxon Laramie each having one touchdown for the Wildcats.

“We had a couple of good stops on defense in the second half,” said Rosati.

The Bulldogs (0-4) host another winless team Oct. 24 as the Catholic Central Comets come to Amherstburg. The Bulldogs conclude the regular season Oct. 31 with a 4 p.m. game against Sandwich, also at Centennial Park.

Villanova girls hockey team captures SWOSSAA championship



By Ron Giofu


The St. Thomas of Villanova girls hockey team is heading for OFSAA after winning the SWOSSAA “AAA/AAAA” title last Tuesday afternoon.

The Wildcats and the Chatham-Kent Hawks couldn’t settle things in the first three periods or in the first three overtime periods but Alessandra Schembri ended things with just 11.4 seconds left in the fourth overtime to give the Wildcats the 1-0 win.

Schembri said she pushed the puck past the Hawks’ defense and ended up on a breakaway. Stopped on her first attempt to score, she picked up the rebound and ended the game.

“Before I knew it, the puck was in the net,” said Schembri. “It was surreal. I didn’t know what happened. I was at a loss for words. I was trampled by my teammates.”

The St. Thomas of Villanova Wildcats  gather for a group  picture after capturing the SWOSSAA AAA/AAAA title last Tuesday.

The St. Thomas of Villanova Wildcats gather for a group picture after capturing the SWOSSAA AAA/AAAA title last Tuesday.

It was a fast-paced game, Schembri added, but the scoring chances were kept to a minimum.

“There wasn’t a lot of room out there but we worked hard and pushed through,” she said.

Captain Carli Dumeah motivated the team between every period, Schembri added, and “we all worked hard for her.” It was also an emotional game for the senior players, as they are in their final year of high school hockey.

Villanova head coach John Purdie pointed out that Chatham-Kent was undefeated coming into the game while the Wildcats lost only once during the season. Both teams allowed less than one goal per game during the season.

Purdie said their loss was to Chatham-Kent, a 3-1 defeat at a Christmas tournament. He said the Hawks “snuck up on us” as the Wildcats were not expecting them to be as strong as they were.

Since that game, the Wildcats made beating Chatham-Kent one of their missions this year.

“Our goal from Day 1 was to get to OFSAA and win OFSAA,” said Purdie. “We said it all year, this was a step towards the end goal.”

The Wildcats figure they can do well at OFSAA, which is March 21-24 in Mississauga. Purdie said they may be one of the smaller schools there, but they have a lot of elite players and have proven they can play with some of the best in Ontario.

Villanova’s Allison Langille (87) drives around Chatham-Kent’s Kirsten Horney during last week’s SWOSSAA title game at the Libro Centre.

Villanova’s Allison Langille (87) drives around Chatham-Kent’s Kirsten Horney during last week’s SWOSSAA title game at the Libro Centre.

“This is the most complete team we’ve ever had,” said Purdie. “The depth of this team is amazing.”

Both goalies – Kristen Swiatoschik and Erica Fryer – give the team a chance to win and Purdie believes they could medal with either of them.

The Wildcats expected the SWOSSAA final to be a tight hockey game and Purdie stressed to the players to not let a bad bounce beat them. He also credited the referees, who “did a great job letting them play.” There wasn’t a single penalty called in the game.

Players come from Amherstburg, Harrow and LaSalle, Purdie noted.

“I think this is the kind of hockey team that brings communities together,” he added.

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.