Go­ing through the front

OFSAA is more than a month away, but St. Mary is al­ready get­ting into form to host

The Recorder & Times (Brockville) - - SPORTS - JONATHON BRODIE

St. Mary Cru­saders se­nior boys’ vol­ley­ball cap­tian Trevor Fortier freely ad­mit­ted his team is talk­ing about OFSAA.

“It’s al­ways on ev­ery­body ’s mind,” said Fortier.

The top topic of dis­cus­sion re­gard­ing the pro­vin­cial high school cham­pi­onship is that de­spite the Cru­saders hav­ing a pass to go in through the back­door with an au­to­matic bid to the AA tour­ney as hosts of the event from Nov. 23-25, they want to go through the front and dis­tin­guish them­selves as EOSSAA champs earn­ing a spot re­gard­less of where it was held.

By all in­di­ca­tions, the Cru­saders look to have the pieces to put the EOSSAA cham­pi­onship ti­tle be­side their name in the OFSAA sou­venir pro­gram in­stead of sim­ply putting the word host next to them.

It’s say­ing some­thing when St. Mary coach Den­nis Hutt claims this year’s squad is the strong­est team the school has put on the court in the last 15 years.

Re­mem­ber, this is a Cru­saders squad that has won the LGSSAA ti­tle three times in the last decade-and-a-half and look to be head­ing to a fourth ti­tle this time around. They added to their Leed­sGrenville supremacy ar­gu­ment Wed­nes­day when St. Mary won three sets against BCI to pile onto their un­blem­ished record in week three of LGSSAA ac­tion.

St. Mary’s rook­ies look closer to vet­eran play­ers in terms of skill and the school seems to carry a ros­ter deeper than some John Mayer lyrics.

Trevor Thomp­son is a tower at the net and dis­rupts the op­po­nent’s of­fence.

Erik Good­berry can get some se­ri­ous air when he jumps, while Con­nor Kelly gets the hang-time as well as some strength be­hind his spikes.

David Sw­erd­feger has a strong serve. Har­ri­son May­otte can quickly adapt his po­si­tion and is ready for any­thing thrown his way.

Fortier is a calm pres­ence for the team, a solid player that doesn’t get riled up when some­thing goes wrong and doesn’t get too ex­cited when things do go the Cru­saders’ way.

Sam Fahrn­gru­ber, Mal­colm Spence, and Mark Mee­son are con­sis­tent in their per­for­mances.

As a team the Cru­saders are a se­ri­ous threat as they can change their game plan on the fly and make it look rel­a­tively easy. The dan­ger in their game comes from con­stantly set­ting up their of­fence and le­git­i­mately al­most any­one on their team has a real shot at ham­mer­ing home a point, so it makes things tough for an op­po­nent to key in on one St. Mary player.

“There’s ex­cel­lent team chem­istry, a deep bench and a will­ing­ness to put in a lot of hard work at prac­tice,” said Hutt. “The boys have ded­i­cated them­selves to im­prov­ing and work­ing to­gether as a team, so that’s been very, very pos­i­tive.”

All of this isn’t just hype com­ing from home as the Cru­saders won bronze at a 16-team tour­na­ment they hosted last week­end, as well as earned gold at a Uni­ver­sity of Toronto In­vi­ta­tional Tour­na­ment where they stacked up against big­ger AAA and AAAA schools.

“We play one game at a time. We try to im­prove on each set and each play and we learn from our mis­takes and move for­ward,” said Hutt. “We’re not al­ways go­ing to have high level per­for­mances, as will all teams, but the im­por­tant thing is to learn from the mis­takes when we get down and pick our­selves back up and that’s kind of the trend we’re on now.”

Fortier, who will be grad­u­at­ing, is the only player ex­pected to not be on the Cru­saders ros­ter next year that is play­ing for the team this sea­son, so a re­peat ap­pear­ance at OFSAA in 2018 is not out of the ques­tion and in that year they will have to go through the front door.

For now, they’re just fo­cused on the OFSAA ahead of them.

“The guys are very fo­cused and they want to put on a good show­ing at OFSAA and make sure they put their best ef­fort for­ward and have fun, that’s all I can ask from them,” Hutt said. “You want to walk away from this with good mem­o­ries and work­ing hard and hav­ing fun is guar­an­teed to pro­duce a good mem­ory for them.”

JONATHON BRODIE/The RecoRdeR and Times

St. Mary Cru­saders Mark Mee­son goes for a spike dur­ing Wed­nes­day’s LGSSAA se­nior boys’ vol­ley­ball game against BCI.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.