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Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018
Second half success the goal at Cambrian
by Cambrian Varsity Athletics

The Cambrian Golden Shield varsity volleyball teams must be hoping that the turn of the calendar signals a little more good fortune come 2018.

Both the men’s and women’s teams will be looking to snap losing skids once the second half of the OCAA schedule picks up again on January 13th, with both squad’s making a trek to Hamilton to face the Redeemer Royals.

Coach Tom Sutton and his Cambrian lads are sitting at 1-9 with a very young crew, not having tasted victory since opening the schedule with a three set win over the Collège Boréal Vipères. The locals were in tough this past Saturday, downed 25-7, 25-17, 25-14 by the powerful Humber Hawks.

Lucas Claveau was once again the featured hitter on the attack for the Shield, registering six kills while also leading his team with eight digs. Also scoring for Cambrian were Taylor Cafley, Mitchell Reid and Brennen Chaput, while the Hawks found their offense paced by Alex Bowden and David Fountain, with eight and seven kills respectively.

The challenge at the net continues for the undersized northern crew, with Humber converting at a 50% ratio when looking for the kill, while Cambrian could only muster an 8% conversion rate. Sutton once again worked a good percentage of his roster into game action, with no less than 11 different players enjoying court time versus the Hawks.

Facing the Sheridan Bruins the next day, the Golden Shield kept things much closer, dropping sets by scores of 25-17, 25-14, 25-20. While Claveau again topped the charts for Cambrian in kills with six, there were some encouraging signs from some of the newer faces, with Cafley (3), Curtis Swereda (2), Mitchell Reid, Devin Gelaznikas, Scott Williams and Cole Krassey all chipping in offensively.

A top heavy Sheridan group were led by the quartet of Andrew Cianci (9), Matt Stokes (8), Marcel Phang (8) and Andre Zopf (7), as the Bruins improved to 5-4 on the season. The development process was evident again on Sunday as 13 athletes rotated their way through the Cambrian roster, the vast majority with several years of post-secondary eligibility remaining.

If the Shield are to enjoy some second half success, it will likely come on the road, as the team pays a visit to the four teams directly above them in the standings: Boréal (0-10) on January 24th, Mohawk (3-5) on January 27th, Conestoga (4-5) on February 2nd and Niagara (4-4) on February 3rd.

Though the Cambrian women fared somewhat better in compiling a first half record of 3-7, coach Dale Beausoleil and company will still be looking to put the brakes on a five game losing skid when action resumes in the new year.

The Golden Shield ladies went five sets, unsuccessfully, for the second time this year in their 2017 finale, beaten by Sheridan 25-19, 25-27, 25-22, 18-25, 9-15. With Kendra Muffo sidelined with a concussion and unavailable for the weekend, versatile rookie Isabelle Rivest from Sturgeon Falls stepped in to handle the setter duties, with fellow freshman Teagan Langis enjoying some time on the attack.

No less than three of the Cambrian starters hit double digits in kills, with Jillian Vallier (14), Emily Clark (12) and Hayley Chisholm (10) all reaching the plateau. By contrast, only Tara Aune (15 kills) managed to match or better the Shield trio, with the Bruins besting the visitors 14-10 in blocks and 98-68 in defensive digs.

Leading the way defensively for Sheridan was Sudbury native Stacey Gregorini, posting a game high 27 digs, with Cambrian libero Bri Berriault close behind at 26. On Saturday, the Humber Hawks proved that they are very much in contention for an 11th straight OCAA championship, sweeping Cambrian 25-20, 25-17, 25-19.

Beausoleil took advantage of that challenging matchup to find some playing time for both Jade Gauthier and Kayla Wandziak, as Vallier, Chisholm, Clark and Amanda Kring all compiled four kills for the Shield. Substituting with regularity, the Hawks boast a deep roster that can afford to feature former OUA standout and Northern Chill alumnus Nicole Collard in a complementary role.

Like the men, the Cambrian women will have to make hay on the road early in 2018, facing opponents that they have beaten (Redeemer – January 13th; Conestoga – February 2nd), as well as close five set loss adversary (Niagara – February 3rd).

The team will have a chance to fine tune their game a little on the weekend of January 5th to 7th, taking part in the 2018 Adidas Cup at Durham College. Part of a 12-team field, the Shield find themselves in Pool “A” along with the host Durham Lords as well as the Sherbooke Volontaires.

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