By Larry Moko
Five words summed up the Catholic senior team’s performance at the 2019 Battle of Hamilton.
“We’ll get them next year,” coach Julie Kersley said with a smile after her Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic high school squad dropped all four sets to Hamilton Public at Mohawk College on Wednesday.
It was the seventh-annual contest between all-star volleyball teams representing the two city boards, with the HWCDSB entering as the defending champion.
Public won 25-22, 25-21, 25-14 and (in the friendly fourth set) 25-19.
Selected as Catholic Most Valuable Player, right-side hitter Adam Antolin of the St. John Henry Newman Cardinals said he was surprised by Public’s margin of victory in the third set.
“It’s not how we wanted it to go, obviously,” he said. “We wanted to do better. We didn’t pass as well as we thought we could have.”
The key, according to Antolin, was that the opposition made fewer mistakes.
“We made a lot of serving errors, passing errors and hitting errors,” he said. “They just minimized all of that.”
Kersley agreed. “We have a lot of strong athletes but we didn’t play our best. I thought we gave away a lot of free points.”
When the Catholic all-stars scored points, it was often due to Antolin’s efforts. “When Adam got set he was able to shine,” said Kersley, who recently guided the Bishop Ryan Celtics to the Catholic league championship. “He had some powerful swings.”
Despite the straight-set loss, Antolin enjoyed the experience of competition between all-stars from across the city.
“It was my last game playing high school volleyball,” he said. “I wanted to go out with a bang. I have friends on the Public board’s team. I’ve played with pretty much their whole starting lineup, so I wanted to have fun with them. I’m not too upset about the final result.”
Antolin is hoping to play volleyball at the Ontario college level next fall.
Other players on the Catholic roster were: Fernando Grajales, Bishop Ryan; Brian DaCosta, Cathedral; Noah Musicka, ACMT; Eric Kovacic, Bishop Ryan; Ivan Panovski, St. Thomas More; Tyler Goddard, St. Jean de Brebeuf; Giancarlo Morabit, St. Jean de Brebeuf; Sasha Thaily, Bishop Ryan; Nick Rendulic, Newman; Thomas Legare, St. Mary; Evan Sherritt, Bishop Tonnos; Spencer Picard, ACMT; Mateo Gregorio, Newman.
Mike Fuchs of league-finalist Newman was an assistant coach for Catholic.
Source: Marnie Jadon