WECSSAA

General Amherst likely to field combined senior and junior team this season

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

When the General Amherst Bulldogs take the field for the 2018 WECSSAA football season, they will likely be a mix of both senior and junior players.

John Rudak, who is coach of the senior Bulldogs, said he likely will have to combine both teams in order to put a team on the field this season. The juniors could be their own team as in previous seasons but Rudak said that would take an influx of players to help bolster the depth on the senior team.

Rudak pegged the chances at a combined team at 95 per cent, as of last Thursday afternoon’s practice at Centennial Park.

“So far, we’ve had 35-36 players out for all four of our practices, which is good,” he said last Thursday. “The bulk of this team is going to be junior players. We’ve got a good group of Grade 9’s.”

As players put on the pads this week, Rudak said numbers could grow into the 40’s if some players show up that have indicated they might. He was hopeful of more players at the end of the last school year, but noted that they have decided to pursue other options.

 

The General Amherst Bulldogs football team hit the field for the first time this season last week as practice has started for the 2018 WECSSAA season.

“People were interested enough at the end of last year but they changed their minds over the summer,” said Rudak.

With a combined roster, Rudak said the Bulldogs will be stronger than they were last year when the senior team went 0-6. He said there were players who weren’t dedicated to the sport last year and that there weren’t enough players so that he could substitute in people who had the dedication.

Rudak said he has no problem putting a Grade 10 player in the game over a more senior player if the younger player is more committed.

“Last year, we had no depth,” said Rudak.

Rudak added that it is nice coaching junior players, as they have fewer commitments that take them away from football. He said playing football allows young people to have fun and be competitive.

“Just to be part of something is important,” he said.

The Bulldogs won’t be the only combined team in the WECSSAA league this season, he pointed out, adding that there are schools with double the enrolment who don’t have a football program.

“We’re going to try and keep this going as long as we can,” said Rudak.

Lady Gens eliminated in “disappointing” WECSSAA playoff tournament

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The WECSSAA girls slo-pitch playoffs were last Monday and Tuesday but the General Amherst Lady Gens could not replicate their recent tournament success.

The Lady Gens played four games and lost two of them, which eliminated them from the tournament, which was played at Co-An Park in McGregor.

Mike Prescott, who coached the team with Nikki Maxey, called the WECSSAA playoffs “very disappointing.”

“Teams wanted to plays us hard and it showed,” he said.  “We came out strong against Belle River and they came back on us to tighten the game to the end. We came through in the end with the hits needed to win.”

The final score was a 14-13 win for the Lady Gens.

The second game was against Kingsville and General Amherst came out on the short end of a 15-14 decision.

The General Amherst Lady Gens girls slo-pitch team.

“In the Kingsville game, I feel we came out flat against a team that really wanted it.  Our talent gave us the late lead but in the final inning, Kingsville went ahead by two and we could only answer with one,” said Prescott. “It was a tough loss which dropped us to the loser bracket and a long road to the top.”

The third game was against UMEI and it was a 20-5 win.

“In the UMEI game, our team got it going quick and aggressively,” he said.  “It was a hitting and fielding display and we finished that one with a mercy.”

The fourth, and what turned out to be the final game, was a 26-19 loss to Villanova. The Wildcats would advance to the finals where they would lose 10-6 to Leamington.

“In our final game against Villanova, they started out on us with a two-out, 10-run first inning,” he said.  “You tell hitters to hit where they aren’t and that’s what they did.  We climbed out of it to bring the game to even going into the seventh.  They put up another big inning on us and we didn’t answer.”

“It was a tough day for a very promising team,” said Prescott.  “We lose seniors who have had an impact on this team since Grade 9. We have three all-stars selected from this team to represent us including Brooklyn Prescott, Carly Renaud and Payton Laing.  Our future though looks very bright as we fielded a very young team.”

 

Bulldogs fall short in WECSSAA “AA” boys soccer final

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Bulldogs boys soccer team got to the WECSSAA “AA” final but fell just short of a league title.

The Essex Red Raiders claimed the Windsor-Essex County championship at the “AA” level with a 2-0 victory over the Bulldogs last Thursday evening. The game was played on a neutral field, specifically the turf field at Academie Ste. Cecile private school in south Windsor.

Essex used first half goals from Tyler Zsebok and Jackson Moore to win and take the title. General Amherst advanced to the finals after wins over top ranked schools such as Cardinal Carter and Riverside.

“We had a really hard working game,” said General Amherst head coach Gavin Blunt. “We couldn’t get the bounces we needed. (Essex) got lucky on a couple of bounces at the beginning on their (first) goal. We worked hard. We’re not used to going down two goals so early.”

General Amherst’s Cole Chittle tries to work around an Essex player last Thursday night.

Spencer Petrozzi, one of General Amherst’s assistant coaches, gave credit to the Red Raiders for their effort.

“We were chasing the game from the start,” said Petrozzi. “We never got settled. Essex played well. They deserved to win.”

The Bulldogs advanced to the WECSSAA “AA” final with victories over Cardinal Carter and Riverside. Blunt said those teams played in WECSSAA’s Tier 1 division this past regular season with the Bulldogs being a Tier 2 team.

General Amherst will lose a “good amount” of players either to graduation or players moving out of the area. Blunt said this year’s team was mainly returning players from last year but they will need other players to step up next season as they move into Tier 1 themselves.

“We’ll be playing against the best,” said Blunt.

Blunt added that this year “was a good experience for the boys” but acknowledged after last Thursday’s game that “we didn’t get what we came here for.”

For more photos, please visit our Facebook album.

Bulldogs advance to WECSSAA boys soccer final

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Bulldogs are in the WECSSAA “AA” boys soccer final.

The Bulldogs advanced in dramatic fashion last Thursday afternoon after winning 3-2 in Windsor over the Riverside Rebels. The game ended 1-1 after regulation time and then went to extra time, when the score ended up 2-2. General Amherst then won the game in penalty shots and progressed to the WECSSAA finals.

The Bulldogs’ Kerion Sweet squeezes between the boundary line to the left of his team’s net and the Cougars’ Bryden Fizer during the first half of a WECSSAA 2A senior boys’ soccer quarterfinal match at Cardinal Carter Catholic Secondary School in Leamington last Wednesday afternoon. Sweet, along with Cole Zelle, scored for General Amherst in a 2-1 victory to advance to the semi-finals.
(Photo by Bryan Jessop/Southpoint Sun-Journal)

The win over Riverside was the Bulldogs’ second victory in two days. The Bulldogs were in Leamington last Wednesday afternoon and defeated the Cardinal Carter Cougars 2-1.

General Amherst fell behind 1-0 thanks to a penalty shot goal by Cardinal Carter but the Bulldogs fought back in the second half and scored twice to send them to the semi-finals. Cole Zelle and Kieron Sweet scored in the win over the Cougars.

Members of the General Amherst Bulldogs react after winning the WECSSAA “AA” semi-final game in penalty kicks May 17. (Photo by Mark Sweet)

The Bulldogs will play the Essex Red Raiders in the WECSSAA “AA” soccer final. Essex defeated General Amherst 1-0 the only time they met in the regular season, with that game being played at Essex District High School.

The WECSSAA “AA” final will be played Thursday starting at 6 p.m. It will be played at a neutral site, as the game is scheduled to be played at Academie Ste.-Cecile International Private School at 925 Cousineau Road in Windsor.

Girls soccer team bows out of WECSSAA playoffs

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Lady Gens soccer team suffered its first loss of the season last Tuesday afternoon, but it was enough to end their season.

The Lady Gens dropped a 2-0 decision to the Sandwich Sabres with Sandwich scoring a goal in each of the two halves to obtain the win in the WECSSAA “AA” quarterfinal game. The Lady Gens had gone undefeated (6-0-2) in the Tier 3 regular season and beat Essex in their first playoff game.

Despite the loss, the General Amherst coaches were still pleased with how the team played and the effort they showed.

“We have ended still on a high note even though it was a defeat,” said coach Mark Sweet.

Sweet believed the Lady Gens put forth a good effort and hung in with Sandwich, who played in Tier 1 during the regular season.

“(Sandwich) had to work for what they got,” he said.

General Amherst goalkeeper Delilah Brouwer boots the ball away from her goal during their May 15 game against Sandwich.

Vanessa Pidutti, one of the Lady Gens’ captains, also thought they played well and hung tough against Sandwich.

Pidutti added the Lady Gens got better as the 2018 season went on.

“Everyone worked hard this whole season,” she said. “You could see the improvement with everyone.”

The General Amherst Lady Gens girls soccer team gathers for a group photo after their game May 15 in LaSalle.

The team loses three players to graduation but Pidutti was optimistic for next year, stating she is looking forward to it.

“I feel most of the team coming back is going to help us have a much better season,” she added.

Pidutti said they will also be losing their coach as Sweet and his family are moving back to England.

For additional photos from the May 15 game, view our Facebook album.