By Larry Moko
The level of high school volleyball in Hamilton has improved significantly over the past 15 years.
Just ask one of Canada’s top men’s university volleyball coaches – Dave Preston of the McMaster Marauders.
He was in attendance at the Battle of Hamilton boys’ high school all-star volleyball games at Ancaster High School Tuesday. The junior and senior contests on display in the doubleheader matched the best from the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic board against the cream of the crop representing the Hamilton-Wentworth Public board.
Public took the second-annual junior contest, 3-1. The scores were 25-15, 25-17, 19-25, 25-21.
“It’s a showcase for the kids,” Preston said. “The level of volleyball in Hamilton has dramatically increased in the 15 years I’ve been here. We couldn’t have done this 15 years ago.
“It’s exciting for me. I’m sitting here in awe. The level of junior volleyball is tremendous. These are Grade 9 and 10 kids … it’s impressive.”
Preston’s daughter, Grace, incidentally, also plays volleyball for the St. Thomas More Knights junior girls’ team this season.
In the junior boys’ all-star opener, Sasha Thaily of the Bishop Ryan Celtics was selected Catholic MVP while Vaunn Smith of Hamilton District Christian High received the same honour for Public.
“It was a great experience,” Thaily said. “It was an honour to play with the top players and for our school board.”
A 6-foot-3 middle who also competes for the MAC U16 club team, Thaily said with more practice time the Catholic all-stars might have fared better.
“Communication played a huge factor in our loss,” Thaily said. “If we would have talked more on the serve receive I think we would have come out victors.”
Other members of Team Catholic were: Jacob Versace, Bishop Ryan; Spencer Picard, ACMT; Jesse Mainville, ACMT; Justin Bourque-Haney, ACMT; Will Perron, Cardinal Newman, Joey Bruccoleri, Cardinal Newman; Liam Shewedyk, Bishop Tonnos; Thomas Legare, St. Mary; Nick Dang, St. Mary, Nana Glyhmah, Cathedral. The coaches were Dave Perron of the league champion ACMT Jaguars and Mariane Bogovic of the Bishop Ryan Celtics (finalists).
Source: Marnie Jadon