Volleyball all-stars make a net gain

volleyballCall it a smashing success. Many of the top high school volleyball players from Hamilton-Wentworth got together on Wednesday (Nov. 27) to raise money for a good cause while at the same time showcasing their impressive court skills.

The event – played in front of a full house at Cardinal Newman Catholic Secondary School – was the inaugural Hamilton high school boys’ volleyball all-star game. It brought together the cream of the crop from the city’s public and Catholic school boards.

All proceeds benefit the Mental Health and Addiction Program at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Foundation.

Boys and girls high school basketball teams in Hamilton-Wentworth have been participating in annual all-star games for several decades, but this year – spearheaded by organizer and coach, Mark Wu – the sport of volleyball finally got its chance to step into the spotlight.

The public squad fought back to take the evenly-played match, 3-2 (25-19, 20-25, 18-25, 25-14, 15-10).

“It was outstanding that Mark Wu put in the effort to set this up,” said Michael Felinczak of the Catholic league finalist Cathedral Gaels. “It was an amazing game. I’m so happy that we got a chance to have this. I’m in Grade 12 and probably won’t be coming back next year.”

The Catholic league used a formula for picking its squad. Four players each had to come from finalists Newman and Cathedral, while two represented both semi-finalists Brebeuf and Bishop Ryan. St. Mary, Tonnos, ACMT and St. Thomas More sent one player apiece.

Since the public board has more schools, it opted to hold tryouts.

“It’s incredibly exciting that a sport like volleyball is finally being showcased in the city,” said one of the Catholic all-star coaches, Andrea McCabe, of Cathedral. “This being the inaugural event makes it special for the coaches and the players.

“There was a lot of great defensive play.”

Marcus Wu of the Westmount Wildcats was selected the game’s Most Valuable Player. The all-star selections from each team were Felinczak (Catholic) and Sean McArthur of the MacNab Lions (public).

The Catholic all-star roster was comprised of the following players: Roosevelt Buenafe, libero, St. Mary; Zack North, outside hitter, Cardinal Newman; Sadaine Smith, outside hitter, Cathedral; Nick Cascuccio, setter, Cardinal Newman; Patrick Wilusz, outside hitter, Cardinal Newman; Dominic Scibetta, outside hitter, ACMT; Michael Felinczak, setter, Cathedral; Ife Igwe, outside hitter, St. Jean de Brebeuf; Kip Peragine, outside hitter, Bishop Tonnos; Manny DeJesus, setter/libero, Bishop Ryan; Jake Plumb, middle, Cardinal Newman; Antony Marijanovic, middle, St. Jean de Brebeuf; Carson White, middle, Bishop Ryan; Derek Steenbeek, outside hitter, St. Thomas More; Jeff Palacios, libero, Cathedral; Matthew Passalent, outside hitter, Cathedral.

The public board all-stars were: Lucas Scime, libero, Westmount; Cameron Kaptein, outside hitter, Westmount; Nathan Rideout, outside hitter, Orchard Park; Brandon Koklis, outside hitter, Sherwood; Chary Pok, outside hitter, Churchill; Kevin Khuth, outside hitter, Macdonald; Andrew Holmes, setter, Ancaster; Jacob Hodge, outside hitter, Ancaster; Marcus Wu, outside hitter/setter, Westmount; Jason Lee, libero/setter, Macdonald; Ryan Hare, middle, MacNab; Stewart Williamson, middle, Westdale; Nick Pett, middle, Saltfleet; Shawn Malik, outside hitter, Churchill; Hayden Waslynchuck, middle, Saltfleet; Sean McArthur, outside hitter, MacNab.