Ice Chips and Canoe Quips – November 16th, 2022

Mustang Volleyball hosting NOSSA!

Coaches Mike Wesno and Derek Debassige have been thrilled with the dedication and effort all season long and it paid off last week by winning NSSSA as the host school. The Black and Gold won every game in straight best of five sets (three games, no tie breaker needed!). First they beat Elliot Lake who incidentally is coached by Mustang alumnus Cole Dummond (sorry, Cole). It came down to Central Algoma’s CASS in the finals and they too were put down in three games and MSS will be the venue for NOSSA Friday.

Coach Wesno has seen a lot of talent go through the courts at Manitoulin and recalls some amazing players who had crazy-good skills. Perhaps this team doesn’t have a single player like alumnus Ryan Anderson who played varsity at York U, however he is impressed with his current team for another reason. He has not seen a team that collectively just enjoys the game and finds fun in practise. They find every time they can to be honing their skills. On their own volition they can be found in the gym before school and sometimes during class-time, perhaps? 

Due to their enthusiasm and ‘coachability,’ the coaches don’t mind giving up their time getting them as much time on the court as they can. The squad has intense practices during lunch and after school and even have fun games on the weekend against an all-star group of local adults. Most are former Mustang players such as the aforementioned Anderson who is back on the Island, Andrew Argall, Zac Kategiannis, Cole Dummond, Ben Marshall, Greg Doane as well as Coaches Derek Debassige and Mike Wesno. I believe all have played post-secondary ball and take no mercy in schooling the youngsters but that is how you learn!  

Although Coach Wesno was hesitant to center out players as the starting nine all played excellently, I pried a few highlights from him. His captain and setter, Brett Mastelko, leads by example with his effort and even takes his ‘setter’ title to extremes by getting to school early to set the gym up for practice. Jack Pennie and Andrew Rose were dominant hitters for NSSSA. Andrew demonstrates the type of commitment to the team and sport by often being found in the weight room working on explosive leg muscles. He also plays club volleyball in Sudbury with Northern Chill. 

Great examples on defense were seen in Davin Deschenes and Luke Heinen. Another example of devotion was Luke, who has never been involved in team sports before but worked on volleyball at home this summer with his brother with the goal to make the team!

Good luck Friday, guys: Colin Lindner, Aidan McGraw, Cole Hughson, TJ Green, Eli Lock, Andrew Rose, Davin Deschenes, Jared Toope, Brett Mastelko, Jack Pennie, Mason Leighton and Luke Heinen.

The junior boys came in as the underdogs in their NOSSA bid but prevailed and also get home-court advantage tomorrow, November 17, with games starting at 10 am. 

I recall reporting on the exploits of Coach Andrew Argall over many years as he was an elite track and volleyball athlete especially. Now as a teacher at MSS he has brought his experiences back to benefit his Alma Mater. Congrats and best of luck Thursday: Ethan Witty, Cody Campbell, Andrew Cooper, Noah Thorpe, Liam Lariviere, Rylan Lock, Corbin Best, Cash Duchene-Milne, Jack Carter, Ryder Lockyer and their manager, Taylor Bell!

Mustang Junior Girls B-Ball to NOSSA too!

The junior girls’ basketball team has been interesting for Coach Jon Balfe. With the draw of other sports like volleyball, there are multiple pulls for attention. Despite that the very small team of seven have shown great improvement and have been able to endure the intense and effective practise regimen expected by their coach. 

Jon says that he only coached two of the girls last year, Harmony Panamick-Shawana and Aspen Debassige so, “They knew the way it was going to be!” There are also five new girls that have not really played any school sports due to COVID. “They have made a lot of improvements. They have learned a full court press, and run a ‘read and react offense’ yet their biggest accomplishment is that they get some assists in their games. Situations where another player creates a scoring opportunity for a teammate, not just the pass before a score.”

Not to be outdone! The Mustangs Junior Girls basketball team will be off to North Bay for the NOSSA championships after taking the North Shore Secondary School Association championship last week.

They head to North Bay for NOSSA this Friday, having not seen any of the competition. They are expecting the teams will have some club players and be pretty skilled. However Coach Jon is imagining them, “to think that NSSSA is going to lie down in the presence of the city teams. They’re in for a surprise, win or lose. We only have seven players and have played double headers with 10 min rest between games and still managed to out run the other teams.” 

We are excited to see how you do, good luck team! The team features: Harmony Panamick-Shawana, Aspen Debassige, Alexis McVey, Mya Debassige, Phoebe Aeschliman, Maddy McCarville and Mya Balfe. 

Mustang runners shine at A.O. Championships

Uber coach Gerry Holliday continues to be coaching at an elite level and is still helping develop athletes to their potential. Even after OFSAA he took four of his runners to Kingston for the Athletics Ontario Cross-Country Championships. In the U16 boys Xavi Mara was 27th and Matthew Wilkin was 95th. In the U18 Brodie Pennie was 37th with a still improving, 3:21 per km and Alan Wilkin was 101st. Unfortunately, Maren Kasunich has not been well since the grueling OFSAA experience.

Hopefully, she will feel up for this week’s Canadian Cross Country Championships hosted by Ottawa Lions Track Club. Congratulations Gerry and thanks for all your hard work!

Captain Kohyn catch-up

Kohyn Eshkawkogan broke the ice and got his first goal this weekend soon after being appointed Captain of the Mississauga Reps (U15 AAA). He led his team to the semi-finals at the Ottawa Myers tournament but they unfortunately fell 2-1 in OT to the hosts.

The highlight of the weekend was d-man Kohyn in the 2-0 shut down of the powerhouse Elgin Middlesex Canucks who are ranked No. 2 in Ontario, No. 3 in Canada and No. 9 in the world! This was only the second loss in 24 games for Elgin Middlesex.

Up next on the schedule for Kohyn and the Reps are the Vaughan Kings who are ranked No. 1 in Ontario, No. 2 in Canada and No. 5 in the world. Keep up the hard work, Kohyn!

OFSAA Omission!

There are many joys to Island life, and most connect to the distance we enjoy from the larger centres and our quieter, more elegant pace of existence. One of the costs of the remoteness is the difficulty in attending the meets and athletic endeavours of our youth in those venues, and a reliance on web-based results pages for reporting. So an apology must be made to Willow Cooper, whose 205th finishing time was actually the 4th that allowed the MSS X-Country team to capture the amazing 14th overall at last week’s OFSSA meet in Uxbridge. Scrolling through results online is no substitute for attendance! Sorry, Willow.

A good sport is good for sports