By Larry Moko
This is the fourth season of senior girls’ high school volleyball at St. Mary for Aimee Beaupre but, in a way, she finds it a whole new experience.
“It’s different,” the Grade 12 middle said after helping the St. Mary Crusaders to a 2-0 victory over the visiting Bishop Tonnos Titans Thursday. The scores were 25-15, 25-19.
“I’m the only returning player,” she explained, “so it’s a completely new team. It’s different for me because now I kind of take on a leadership role. I’m captain.”
The Crusaders have been excellent throughout Beaupre’s high school career. They’ve captured four consecutive Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic league championships and last season, with a veteran lineup, brought home the OFSAA gold medal from the AA tournament in Mississauga. That marked the first time a HWCAA team had ever won gold at a provincial girls’ high school volleyball championship.
St. Mary also had a bronze-medal finish when OFSAA was held in Belleville in 2017.
“I think we still have a lot of talent,” Beaupre said. “We work hard. We’re a really solid team.”
With their victory over Tonnos, St. Mary (10-2) remained in sole possession of second place behind the league-leading ACMT Jaguars (11-1). Other results Thursday saw the St. Thomas More Knights top the St. Jean de Brebeuf Braves, 2-0, ACMT down the Cathedral Gaels, 2-0, and the Cardinal Newman Cardinals edge the Bishop Ryan Celtics, 2-1.
“Things are going well for us so far,” Crusaders coach Chiara Salvatore said. “There’s always little things to work on. Whether its strategy against other teams, serving, serve receives or adjusting to defence.”
Salvatore said the presence of Beaupre is a big plus for St. Mary. “It’s good to have Aimee with us. She’s a great addition to any team. She’s a solid leader both on and off the court.”
Other members of the St. Mary senior team are Ann Coll-Andrikopoulos, Mary Coll-Andrikopoulos, Emily Blondin, Jess Dekker, Meira Morphet, Avery O’Connell, Sonia Olejarz, Kia Parkinson, Lauren Perron, Kate Rath and Natasha Young.
“Eight of our players have club experience,” Salvatore said. “It’s great to have girls who haven’t played school volleyball back playing with us.”
St. Mary losses this season were to ACMT and St. Thomas More. A win by ACMT at home Tuesday against St. Mary would clinch first place for the Jaguars.
“It’s a very competitive league,” Salvatore said. “So we have to go out and play our game every night and use anything that we can to our advantage.”
League playoffs begin Tuesday, Feb. 12.
Source: Marnie Jadon