That Sudbury Sports Guy: Championship teams of all shapes and sizes


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Anne Blanchette has worked hard to try and create a sporting identity, once again, at Hanmer High School.

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There was a time, in the 1970s and 1980s in particular, when the school on Avenue Notre-Dame, then located a stone’s throw from the local drive-in, welcomed hundreds of high school students in the corridors and in the gymnasiums, leaving room for many competitive teams.

The numbers these days just aren’t the same.

“It doesn’t matter the numbers, it doesn’t matter how hard you work,” suggested Jacob Hogue.

The 15-year-old captained the senior men’s volleyball team to a five-set championship final victory over the Lively Hawks, giving the school an SDSSAA Division B banner to adorn the walls of the facility.

“If you work hard for it, you can accomplish almost anything, even with so few numbers. “

Blanchette has seen the school become a bit more competitive in recent years, winning the NOSSA B Championships and a midget basketball crown for the boys, but this is the first volleyball title for the Sabers.

“This group is really a good example of resilience, of wanting to really want to do well,” said Blanchette, now more than 10 years after joining ES Hanmer and coaching the junior and senior men’s volleyball teams this fall.

“I definitely have very athletic students, very natural athletes on the team. But these athletes, who play both basketball and volleyball, have a really good mindset. It’s really fun to train this kind of athlete.

Now in grade 11, Hogue is a shining example, understanding very well the importance of the role he plays as a leader in the team.

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“Being a captain is more about attitude,” he said. “If you show a good attitude towards your team, your team will have a good attitude in the game.”

Joining Hogue on the list that favors quality over quantity are Martin Boisvert, Mathieu Champagne, Joshia Montpellier, Nathan Cotnoir, Alec Richard, Cody Wahl and Lexine Levac. This is a group that has won the affection of their captain.

“I love that everyone is completely unique,” ​​Hogue said. “They all have their own skills. One is tall and he’s good at smashing. Another is not so tall, but he is good at entertaining. It’s a whole different skill set.

It is also a combination of talents that will now host the NOSSA B championship on Thursday, joined by ESC Champlain, ESC Jeunesse-Nord and the tandem Mattawa from ESC Elizabeth-Bruyere and FJ McElligott.

“In this pandemic, being able to host something like NOSSA is not something that they have experienced; they haven’t been able to experience that yet, ”says Blanchette. “The whole school wants to be there.

Raising an SDSSAA banner, on the other hand, is an experience that the Lasalle senior men’s volleyball team has relished on several occasions. In fact, the Lo-Ellen Park Championship a year ago broke a six-consecutive city banner streak for the Lancers.

Coach Dale Beausoleil and his company could now aim for a new streak after knocking down Lockerby 25-18, 25-19, 25-22 last Saturday. The season, however, has not been without speed bumps, as Lasalle lost a regular season game in five sets to the Horizon Eagles, a result that may have given some of their rivals a bit of false hope.

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“I still think a loss isn’t necessarily a bad thing,” said coach Beausoleil. “It got the team thinking, let’s be more serious, wake up, work on the things we’re not good at. Without tournaments, you don’t have the chance to see what you’re up against until you face another team.

“Once we figured that out, we were on our toes. “

In fact, the Lancers haven’t lost a single set in their last six outings, including a pair of playoff games. Given the makeup of the 2021 City Champions lineup, the squad has been built around their strengths.

“I think we really focused on ball control,” said Beausoleil. “We’re not as big as some of the teams I’ve had in the past. Our volleyball IQ is probably a little higher than what I’ve seen. A lot of these guys have been in clubs; there is a little more knowledge of the game.

Owen Pawluk, James Welsh, Mikaio Walia, Tyler Brouillette, Ethan Rose, Miguel Leclaire, Ashton Eadie, Noah Squires, Zach Thompson, Cale Bast, Ethan Lalonde, Oak Runia, Cameron Showers and Quinn Bardell make up the Lasalle formation which will try to win a up to the OFSAA Championships in North Bay as they battle for NOSSA supremacy this weekend at Lo-Ellen.

A NOSSA title would be the end of the line for the Lockerby Junior Vikings, with no provincial playoffs in place for the 9th and 10th year age group. You have to love the odds of the LCS crew who secured local bragging rights with a 25-13, 25-15, 25-9 triumph over Lasalle, the only team to have won sets for them during the last two months.

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“At the start of the season we were all good friends so we were just messing around,” admitted 10th year passer Liam Binks. “He (coach Stephen Beausoleil) had to be strict with us so that we could stay focused. After that we improved a lot and had a great season.

Binks could be the poster child for a team that includes a number of very natural athletes, none of whom would necessarily list volleyball as their primary sport. An accomplished soccer player and distance runner, the 15-year-old has truly taken on his role as a team leader.

“I like the position I’m in,” Binks said. “I made some good decisions as a passer. Because I’m not a volleyball player, I don’t have as much technical ability as someone like the Chill players in Sudbury, but making good decisions really helps me.

Despite all of their success, Binks and company enter the NOSSA tournament on Friday at Lo-Ellen equipped with the ability to overcome the inevitable obstacles that present themselves the further one progresses along the championship spectrum.

“This year we’ve had a few challenges, especially against the Lasalle Lancers,” said Binks. “When they get a lot of points against us, we seem to be a bit shaken up. But then we learned that all we had to do was call a time out and relax a bit, shake off and play a lot better.

Joining Binks on Lockerby’s roster are Callum Baron, James Bertrim, Corbin Appleby, Sam George, Zander Kasunich, Matthias Siemann, Atom Thususka, Adam Selalmatzidis, Dilaine Abeyratne, Aiden Purvis, Connor Duffour, Nathan Kane, Owen Turner and Coach Stephen Beausoleil.

The Lively Hawks’ junior team rounded out the SDSSAA men’s volleyball championship roster, which managed to hand the undefeated Hanmer Sabers their first loss of the year in their B Division final.

This Sudbury Sports Guy appears regularly in The Sudbury Star.

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