“We can see the difference – but there’s not that much of a difference.”
Northern Chill Overchill 17U Boys’ setter Mathieu Berthiaume is not wrong.
The grade 10 student at E.S Champlain was talking about his team being seeded eighth entering McGregor Cup – Championship A play at Laurentian University last weekend, comparing the local crew to some of the top seeds in the nine-team event.
While it was a tough day for the Sudbury lads, it could have easily turned out better, but for a few critical points at key junctures of the tournament. The 17U Chill boys actually took both of their Pool B opponents to three sets, edged out by both Titans Black from Scarborough (25-23, 20-25, 10-15) and Storm Voltage from Aurora (15-25, 25-18, 11-15).
Facing 3A in a pre-quarter final matchup, the Northern Chill reps were right there once again, succumbing 20-25, 26-28 to the Leaside Lobsters. With one last chance to salvage a match victory, the host squad fell by the slimmest of margins possible as the Ancaster Lions Apex cooled off the Chill, 25-23, 26-24.
“Everybody has to dial in,” noted Berthiaume, a young man who does not turn 16 until May, playing up one year to aid in his development. “We have to focus on covering more off the blocks. And for me, personally, my setting has been inside, so I have to focus on keeping it outside.”
Initially a right-side attacker when he began club play, Berthiaume was pressed into action when a back-up setter had to miss a tournament due to hockey commitments a few years back, taking advantage of the opportunity to work his way into a starting role.
“I find it’s a little like being a quarterback,” he said. “You kind of control the game, feel like you control the plays – and you really get into the games.”
“It’s really fun.”
The 2023-2024 edition of the Northern Chill Overchill 17U Boys team assembles Greyson Seifert, Mackenzie Alisappi, Nicolas Dalcourt, Davis MacKinnon, Dax Lamoureux, Owen Perron, Brayden Bertrand, Logan Trottier, Matti Jouppi, Ethan Wheatley, Logyn Bernard, head coach Nathan Squires, assistant coach Cassie MacKinnon and team manager Pam Bazinet, along with Berthiaume.