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Tuesday, Apr. 23, 2019
Cambrian volleyball in tough against Falcons and Saints
by Randy Pascal

With both teams zoned in to something of a rebuilding mode, the Cambrian men's and women's volleyball squads did manage to make a bit of a dent in the armour of the visiting St Clair Saints this past Saturday in Sudbury.

On Sunday, however, there was simply no denting the fortress that is the 2018-2019 edition of Fanshawe Falcons volleyball.

Leading things off on both days, the Cambrian ladies (now 1-5) were coming off their first win of the season, a 3-2 triumph last weekend in Kitchener over the Conestoga Condors. The momentum was carried over briefly, as the Golden Shield took the opening set, 25-22, before St Clair fought back with three straight, 25-20, 25-23, 25-16.

Veteran Emily Clark paced the locals with six kills and 13 points, with Jade Gauthier and Alison LaBrash both chipping in with four kills, and Teagan Langis adding another five points to her stat line. Joining that quartet in seeing action in all four sets were sophomore setter Isabelle Rivest, as well as Amanda Lawson and Maggie Little.

Rounding out the lineup that dressed against the Saints is the influx of youth that coach Dale Beausoleil is attempting to mold into a playoff contender at some point down the road, a grouping that features Erica Scott-Thomas, Monica Prieto, Alexis Paquette, Elizabeth Chisholm, Lyric Peltier and Destinee Pine.

Come Sunday, the Shield were face to face with the team that Beausoleil believes has the ability to medal at nationals, as Fanshawe swept aside the Cambrian women 25-9, 25-14, 25-14. Though kills, for the homeside, were somewhat sparse, Clark did manage to account for two thirds of the team production, scoring six times off the attack.

Gauthier and Lawson were particularly active defensively, leading the Shield with six and five digs respectively, as the team prepares to close out the first half with three more road games. That is actually a tad misleading, as Cambrian will follow-up a trek to Hamilton this coming weekend, battling the Redeemer Royals (0-6) on Saturday and the Mohawk Mountaineers (3-3) on Sunday, with an encounter much closer to home.

The first half of the “Sudbury showdown” takes place on Wednesday, November 28th, when the Collège Boréal Vipères play host to their cross-town rivals, the first serve for the women set for 6:00 p.m. and the men's match scheduled to start at 8:00.

Meanwhile, coach Tom Sutton and the Cambrian men return seven athletes from their 2017-2018 squad, though none with more than two years of OCAA experience. Still, targetting a set victory total that betters the numbers from each of the past two years and includes a season sweep of Boréal is a tangible and realistic step in the right direction.

In dropping a four set match to St Clair on Saturday (25-21, 15-25, 17-25, 15-25), the Golden Shield secured a small victory from a team that has traditionally swept aside the local crew. In fact, it appears that only the Fanshawe Falcons (7-0) and Humber Hawks (5-0) are in a league of their own when it comes to the OCAA West Division adversaries.

Veteran Lucas Claveau and rookie Jason Nadeau paced the northern side with eight kills apiece, with Mitchell Reid (four kills) and Scott Williams (three) also showing signs of benefiting from a year of post-secondary competition already under their belts.

No less than eleven different players would see court time for Cambrian, with Sutton mixing in the services of Eric Williams, Braden Conrad, setter Josh Kneblewski, Cole Krassey, Michael Aiabens, William Southwind and Alex Tegman. Also on the roster, for Cambrian, this year are Adrian Apan, Curtis Gallinger and Alex Theriault.

The more daunting challenge of the Fanshawe front-runners was clear some 24 hours later as the Falcons cruised to a 25-9, 25-14, 25-12 triumph. Only William Southwind and Lucas Claveau would manage more than a single kill, for the Golden Shield, against the imposing blocking line of the visiting team, while Kneblewski led the way in total digs, with three.

Understanding the caliber of the opposition, coach Sutton managed to reward no less than thirteen different athletes with playing time against Fanshawe, including both Apan and Theriault. Like the Cambrian women, the male volleyball counterparts also see action against both Redeemer and Mohawk this coming weekend.

With identical records of 3-3, both Hamilton schools would seem to open the door to the possibility of a Cambrian set win, on the road, allowing coaching staff and players alike to try and take it from there.

Finally, the Golden Shield cross country team put a bow on the fall of 2018 when rookie Sydney Tarini travelled to Toronto to compete for the first time at nationals. Covering the six kilometer course in a time of 27:01, the Lo-Ellen Park product squeezed her way into the top half of the field, finishing in 55th place among the 117 runners who completed the race.

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