Success would come in different forms as five Sudbury teams carried the NOSSA banner into high-school provincial playdown action in cities and towns ranging from Toronto to Pain Court this past week.
Making their first appearance at the OFSAA Boys "A" Volleyball Championship in more than a decade, the Horizon Aigles looked right at home, emerging as a top two team in pool play before bowing out to the eventual gold medal winners.
The Aigles posted a 3-1 record in their preliminary grouping, upending the Acton District High School Bearcats (21-25, 25-21, 16-14), the St Michael Choir Spartans (25-19, 25-13) and the Durham Christian High School (25-21, 25-17), but falling to the Brampton Christian Academy Bearcats (20-25, 19-25).
An unlucky draw would pit the Horizon lads against the Smithville Christian High School Storm squad that would prevail, winning gold in the end, their 25-11, 25-11, 25-10 triumph over the Val Caron school starting the ball rolling. Still, no worse than eighth place marked the highest finish of any of the SDSSAA teams that travelled to OFSAA.
"Our goal, as a team, was to make it to the championship round," said coach Guy Perreault. "We were going out there to be top eight. We wanted to be recognized as one of the top eight ("A") teams in the province."
The 2019 NOSSA "A" championship roster for Horizon includes Alex Giguere, Cedrick Jutras, Ben Lacroix, Alex Leger, Mathieu Lemieux, Miguel Levac, Greg Mrochek, Callum Patterson, Gavin Roy, Noah Perreault, Justin Tremblay and Jordan Trottier.
Just over a couple of hours to the east, the Lasalle Lancers just narrowly missed out on joining the Aigles in OFSAA championship round play. Besting the likes of the Jean Vanier Jaguars (26-24, 25-20), the Essex Red Raiders (23-25, 25-21, 15-13) and the Assumption Crusaders (25-19, 26-24) after losing to the KCVI Blues from Kingston (25-23, 22-25, 12-15), the Lancers were wedged in a three way tie for first place in Pool "B" with both the Red Raiders and Blues.
The mathematical untangling of the trio would see KCVI awarded first place via point differential, with Essex and Lasalle meeting in a single set showdown. A 15-9 setback spelled the end of their hopes for a podium finish, but not the end of the line for the Lancers.
Making their sixth consecutive appearance at OFSAA, the Lancers disposed of both Crescent School from Toronto (25-16, 25-16, 25-15) and the Adam Scott Secondary School Lions from Peterborough (23-25, 25-22, 25-18, 25-16), before coming up just short in the OFSAA Boys "AA" Volleyball Championship consolation final, edged 20-25, 21-25, 25-18, 25-17, 11-15 by the E.L. Crossley Cyclones from Fonthill.
The young men who suited up for Lasalle included Zak Thompson, Jason Diotte, Nicholas Burke, Parker Farstad, Kepler Salt, Austin Pawluk, Jesse Chisholm, Braedan Pakkala, Ian Mackay, Aidan Lowe, Kurtis Terris, David Pigozzo and Cameron Showers.
Given the relative youth of their team, boasting a starting lineup that did not include a single grade 12 student athlete, the Macdonald-Cartier Pantheres senior girls basketball team had little issue finding comfort in taking the consolation route all the way to a championship winning plaque.
"I feel that by losing that second game, it was probably the best game that we could lose, because we could play even more basketball," noted grade 11 post presence, Cloe Douillette. "For us, going to OFSAA this year with a really young team, it was really for the experience and to have fun."
"A year from now, I think we all agree that we really want to step it up and push for the championship (round). The expectations will be higher for our school," she added.
Following a 47-35 win over the Sainte-Trinite Couguars, a game in which Douillette dropped 19 points in leading the offense, Macdonald-Cartier would suffer their only loss, 48-25, at the hands of the London Christian H-S Pioneeers.
From that point on, there was no looking back as the Pantheres outscored George S. Henry Academy of Toronto 44-20 (Douillette - 19), Sainte-Trinite for a second time, 42-26 (Douillette - 22) and finally the Nicholson Catholic College Crusaders, 39-31, in the OFSAA Girls "A" Basketball Championship consolation final, with Zoe Smith breaking through with a 16-point performance (Jenna Walker added 14).
"A big part of our offence was the play of our guards - Callie Moore and Zoe Smith," said Douillette. "They made some really great passes. And if I didn't have the opportunity to score, I knew that the other posts - Jenna Walker, Katie Pilon - could have that opportunity to shine."
"Look at Zoe in the final," Douillette added. "It's not a one person game - it was really a team effort. I may have scored a lot, but a lot of that came from great plays from everyone. That's what I love about our team."
That team in question featured Cloe Douillette, Claudie Lafreniere, Callie Moore, Lexine Moyle, Katie Pilon, Zoe Smith, Karyne Villeneuve, Jenna Walker and Kyra Winn.
Also travelling to OFSAA with a youth-injected roster, but punching outside of their weight-class somewhat as one of the 16 teams taking part in the 2019 OFSAA "AAA" Girls Basketball Championship in Mississauga, the Lo-Ellen Park Knights would have to settle for the experience that comes with testing themselves against top-end competition.
The Knights dropped their opening encounter to the Holy Cross Crusaders from Kingston, 56-23, as Izzy Maki netted seven points in a losing cause. Game two was every bit as tough, as the losers of game one are pitted against winners of game one in these particular provincials, with the Westdale Warriors from Hamilton stopping Lo-Ellen 65-31 (Sophie Moore with nine for the Knights).
Even the consolation bracket was demanding as the Pickering High-School Trojans defeated the locals 55-38, with Maki hitting double digits with a 14-point effort in a losing cause. The 2019 Lo-Ellen Park Knights senior girls basketball team roster gathers the talents of Asma Bilgasem, Briele Bisaillon, Arianna Ghorbani, Mia Jermyn, Carling Kuhlberg, Izzy Maki, Kyra Mallory, Sophie Moore, Maike Purdon, Katrina Thai, Elliot Tissot van Patot, Grace Tresidder and Giulia Wilson.
Closing things off, the Lo-Ellen Park senior boys volleyball crew hit the end of the line at exactly the same point as the Knights girls basketball team, bumped into consolation round action by virtue of a 1-3 record in pool play.
Battling at the 2019 OFSAA Boys "AAA" Volleyball Championship, coach James Schweyer and the lads managed to secure a win against the Uxbridge Tigers (25-23, 18-25, 18-16), but found themselves on the other side of the fence, unfortunately, in matches against the Mississauga Lions (19-25, 20-25), Ursuline College Lancers (19-25, 9-25) and Waterloo Collegiate Institute Vikings (17-25, 14-25).
The Knights final outing was opposite the team that would capture consolation bragging rights, as the Georgetown District High School Bulldogs swept aside the NOSSA "AAA" champs, 25-23, 25-19, 25-14.
William Thistle, Eric Dissanayake, Sam Dewit, Kurtis Wennerstrom, Ethan Rogers, Thomas Bourdon, Laydon Bursey, Caelan Mantle, Jaden Martin, Jacob Schweyer, Ryan Deresti, Jack Sheehan and Logan Spicer formed the 2019 edition of the Knights senior boys volleyball team.