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Quality Inn - Sudbury
Paul Lefebvre - MP for Sudbury
Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019
A Cambrian varsity freshman class twenty strong
by Randy Pascal

There's a bit of a catch-22 in play with an incoming recruiting class that numbered no less than twenty strong, introduced earlier this week at Cambrian College.

To be sure, there was a definite buzz in the air at the New Sudbury campus as a whole slew of aspiring Golden Shield freshmen, covering all five of the varsity sports in their roster, were introduced to the media.

That large a rookie class, however, also implies that a handful of the Cambrian teams are looking at some form of rebuild in 2018-2019, none moreso than the women's volleyball team.

Coach Dale Beausoleil and company, who are ironically hosting the OCAA Women's Volleyball Championships in February of 2019, return only four players from last year's team, welcoming seven newcomers to the fold last Monday.

That grouping includes 18 year-old middle Maggie Little, a pending graduate of Timiskaming District Secondary School, the setting which ultimately played a large part in grooming her for the role upon which she will embark in the fall.

"I played hockey since grade one, and basketball and soccer for a long time," said Little. "I started playing volleyball in grade seven, but in grade nine, it started to become more serious. I really liked my high school coaches and they made volleyball a lot better for me, they helped me enjoy the game a lot more."

"My hitting got a lot better than it was," Little continued. "I have an approach now - I didn't before." Joining the New Liskeard native on the volleyball court will be Erica Scott Thomas (Guelph), Kayla Murray (Whitefish - Lockerby Composite), Destinee Pine-Hull (Sault Ste Marie), Amanda Lawson (Sudbury - Lasalle), Alison LaBrash (Capreol - Confederation) and Britney Chevrier (Capreol - Confederation).

It turns out a high school coach also heavily influenced the high school athletic path of Alex Thériault, one of three additions that coach Tom Sutton greeted to the Cambrian men's volleyball crew.

"From elementary through high school, I played a lot of different sports, mostly team sports," noted the 18 year old product of Ecole secondaire catholique l'Horizon. "But monsieur Patrick Gervais is an amazing coach. I just love his energy, his commitment to the sport, his knowledge, everything. He really just brought me from a very average player to a pretty good player."

The right side who enters the Millwright program in September knows full well that the next step will require even more development in his skill set in order his to become a factor in the highly competitive OCAA West Division.

"I need to improve my speed on blocking and hitting," said Thériault. "There are some big guys out there, and they're going to hit and they're going to block." Also introduced as new members of the men's volleyball team were Julien Giroux (Sudbury - Lasalle Secondary) and Dylan Terris (Sudbury - Lasalle Secondary), the latter back home after a short stint at Lakehead University.

On the soccer side of things, men's head coach Stephane Legrand is looking to merge a small but impactful group of fresh recruits, including Dyk Taw, who captained his high school team (Winston Churchill High School) in Thunder Bay since he was in grade nine.

Born in Thailand but moving to Canada at the age of seven, Taw will offer some much-appreciated flexibility in the lineup for Legrand, his speed a key asset, regardless of where they choose to position the midfielder.

"I've switched around a lot," said Taw. "Defensive mid, attacking mid, anywhere in the middle, both for high school and club. I love making plays, not just scoring, but getting people to score in general."

Joining Taw in making Cambrian their post-secondary selection of choice are soccer players Jesse Johnson (Sudbury - Lockerby Composite), Kiel Cress (Lively District Secondary), Kevin Martin Rojas (born in Cuba but moved to Sudbury about five years ago - Lockerby Composite) and Noah Chamberland (Muskoka).

The Shield women's soccer team added four to the fold in the form of Taylor Bellini (Sault Ste Marie), Elizabeth Chisholm (Burlington), Laura Fratin (Sudbury - Lasalle) and Jessie Marleen Hayward (Acton).

Last but not least, the small group that is Cambrian cross-country received a nice shot in the arm when Lo-Ellen Park track star Sydney Tarini opted to enroll in the college's Pre-Health Sciences program.

Tarini captured several city titles during her time as a Knight and shouyld benefit nicely from the opportunity to train with OCAA silver medallist Mary Strain.

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