Been there, done that, got the T-shirt.
That’s what the Hamilton-Wentworth Public team can say after having participated in the inaugural high school all-star girls’ volleyball exhibition against the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic league on Wednesday (March 26).
The Public squad defeated the Catholic representatives 3-1 in an entertaining match at Westmount Secondary School. The scores were 25-20, 25-23, 20-25, 25-20.
As far as the T-shirts go, the Public side came out for the warmup dressed in attractively-designed tops made specially for the occasion. The Catholics, in comparison, weren’t as spiffily attired.
“We ordered them,” Public coach Michelle Visca of Waterdown District said of her squad’s pre-game-only look. “I thought it would be a good idea to bring the team together. The athletics department for the board paid for them.
“It was such an honour for these girls to be chosen to the all-star team, I thought they needed something for the memory. Now they have a memento of being chosen.”
Visca said Public also probably benefitted from having four practices. In comparison, Hamilton-Catholic was able to get together for only one practice session.
“It was supposed to be fun and that’s exactly what it ended up being,” said Catholic coach Henry Stachurski of Cardinal Newman.
Stachurski, who has guided the Cardinal Newman Cardinals to back-to-back Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic Athletic Association championships, said the Public team, on the night, was better than the Catholics at passing the ball.
“If you can’t pass, you don’t play,” Stachurski said. “You can’t get your offence started and you give them easy starts. It’s hard to defend that.”
One of the most effective Catholic players was middle Savannah Browne of the St. Jean de Brebeuf Braves.
“It was honestly fun and a really good experience regardless of the outcome,” said Browne, a Grade 12 student. “I’m really glad to be part of the first one. It was a good way to meet new people who love the sport.”
Browne, like many of the players from both teams, also plays at the club level. She’s currently with the Mountain Volleyball Club’s U18 entry.
“We had a little trouble getting into it at first,” Browne said of the all-star contest. “Our communication was a little off. We only had the one practice on Monday.”
The Most Valuable Player selection was Jordan Koslowski of the Sherwood Saints. The left/middle player was particularly impressive in the fourth set when she served back-to-back aces and followed that up with consecutive kill shots.
Said Visca: “Jordan has a high reach on her swing. She uses that reach by going over most blocks.”
Stachurski said every team in the HWCAA was represented. He said the game was also beneficial because it gave some of the players an opportunity to shine who had been eliminated long ago from the playoffs.
The first-ever all-star game involving the Hamilton-Wentworth Public and Catholic boys was also held during the 2013-14 high school year. That, too, went to Public.