Bulldogs ousted in jr. boys basketball quarterfinals



By Ron Giofu


The General Amherst Bulldogs junior boys basketball team advanced to the WECSSAA “AA” playoff quarterfinals, but could get no further.

The Bulldogs were defeated 50-36 at Riverside and thus were eliminated from the playoffs. They made it to the quarterfinals thanks to beating Tecumseh Vista Academy 38-27 48 hours earlier.

Head coach Ben Pelger said they were matched up against a Tier 1 opponent in the Riverside Rebels, with General Amherst being a Tier 2 opponent.

“They fought hard until the end,” said Pelger. “They had a really good regular season with an 8-4 record. It’s really promising for next year.”

The General Amherst Bulldogs junior boys basketball team were eliminated from the WECSSAA playoffs last week. (Submitted photo)

Pelger said the junior Bulldogs learned something every game and played well as a team, particularly the last two games. He was also thankful for the support of the senior boys team and coaches Frank Palumbo and Alex Temesy.

“The parents were always of great support,” he said.

Pelger also thanked the students who served as the scorers as well as the players themselves from both the junior and senior teams “for their hard work, dedication and sportsmanship.”

Four students from the junior team are eligible to move up to the senior team next season, Pelger added.

“They’ll have a really strong group for next year,” he predicted.

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 advance in WECSSAA “AA” volleyball playoffs



By Ron Giofu


The General Amherst Lady Gens advanced in the WECSSAA “AA” senior girls volleyball playoffs last week with a quarterfinal win over Kingsville.

The Lady Gens, who finished the regular season 8-2, swept the Cavaliers 25-19, 25-12 and 25-9 last Thursday night at General Amherst. The match didn’t start as well as the Lady Gens would have hoped, with assistant coach Mary Ewer pointing out that Kingsville went hard after every ball in the first set while the Lady Gens didn’t come out as strong as they could have.

General Amherst’s Vanessa Pidutti (9) leaps in order to hit the ball over the net during her team’s sweep of the Kingsville Cavaliers in WECSSAA “AA” girls volleyball playoffs Feb. 7.

The two teams were tied at ten in the second set, but Ewer pointed out that Dani Brindley got on a roll with her serving and that led to 14 points for General Amherst.

“In the third set, we took it to them,” said Ewer.

Head coach Jeff Miller agreed that “we did not play well in the fist game. We were pretty sloppy.” He added that in the second half of the second set is when they pulled it together.

Miller noted they didn’t warm up well and that carried over into the match.

“You can pretty much tell where their mind is,” he said.

Miller added that Brindley’s serving helped turn the game into the Lady Gens’ favour.

“She served some bullets to the right areas and we got some confidence from Dani’s good serving,” said Miller.

The Lady Gens hosted the semi-finals Tuesday night after this issue of the RTT went to press. If they advanced, the finals will be Thursday night at St. Clair College at 7:30 p.m.

“It would be nice to have a good week and bring the trophy back,” said Miller.

General Amherst also played in a Chatham-Kent tournament the weekend before and finished third out of 15 teams. Miller said the field was made up of “AAA” level talent and that the Lady Gens fared well.

Bulldogs drop to 0-8 with a pair of road losses



By Ron Giofu


The General Amherst Bulldogs senior basketball team came back from the exam break with a pair of losses, but the two games were different except for the outcome.

The Bulldogs started the week last Thursday against the UMEI Lightning (4-4) in Leamington with a 35-33 loss but General Amherst was nearly able to complete the comeback. The Bulldogs trailed 19-10 at the half but made it close at the end.

“We started off slow,” said assistant coach Alex Temesy. “We only had ten points in the first half. We finished strong to end the game.”

Temesy said they were unable to get a shot off in the final seconds of the game.

“We ended up making it an exciting game,” he said.

The Bulldogs (0-8) were in Windsor the following day for a game against Lamothe-Cadillac (9-1) with the home team coming away with an 81-44 victory.

Brandon Snippe of UMEI (left) is challenged for
control of the ball by the Bulldogs’ Matteo Palumbo during the second quarter of a WECSSAA Tier II senior boys basketball game last Thursday afternoon. (Photo by Bryan Jessop/Southpoint Sun)

“That’s the best team in the league,” said General Amherst head coach Frank Palumbo, of the Friday night opposition.

“They are a very good team,” agreed Temesy. “They are a big team and very athletic. We lack the size to go up against them.”

Temesy estimated they were outrebounded by about 30. However, he said the Bulldogs didn’t quit despite being down by a lot of points.

“The thing I like about this team is they don’t give up,” said Temesy.

The Bulldogs worked on the things they know and worked hard until the end, he stated, though they were missing one of their better players in Riley Sesto against Lamothe-Cadillac.

They had two games earlier this week against Maranatha and Ste. Cecile.

“We can definitely win those games,” Temesy said, noting Friday night that the Bulldogs were still eyeing a playoff berth. “I think we can break the goose egg.”

Next year’s team should be good, he added, as they will have talented seniors returning with a year’s experience plus some good players coming up from the junior ranks.

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.”