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Wolves come home from OFSAA with a bronze medal


The North Star Wolves senior girls volleyball team’s season has ended with a bronze medal at the provincial level.

The Wolves defeated Oakridge Secondary School out of London in the bronze medal match at the OFSAA “AA” tournament last week. It ran last Monday through Wednesday in Sydenham, located near Kingston.

The fourth-seeded Wolves went undefeated in pool play and knocked off Sir Winston Churchill SS (St. Catharines) 22-25, 25-15, 25-10 and 25-21 in the championship quarterfinals last Tuesday afternoon.

The Wolves lost 19-25, 13-25 and 19-25 to top-seeded and eventual champion Beatrice-Desloges (Orleans) in the semi-finals last Wednesday morning but rebounded against Oakridge later in the day.

“Overall, the kids couldn’t have had a better tournament,” said head coach Jeff Miller. “They got the absolute most out of what they had.”

This year’s team had to battle injuries, including season-ending knee injuries to Addison Prieur at the start of the year and Lillian Mereszak midway through the season, but Miller said the rest of the team battled through it admirably. He believed last year’s team had more talent but lost a heartbreaker in the championship semi-finals before settling for the antique bronze medal in the bronze medal match.

“To make it back (to OFSAA) was an accomplishment,” said Miller.

Going undefeated in pool play was another accomplishment, he added, and noted this year’s match against Sir Winston Church was a rematch of a “spicy” match from 2023. Miller said there was bad blood from last year.

“For us, to play together as a team and take them down was gratifying for everybody,” he said.

Beatrice-Desloges returned all of their players from last year and have three NCAA Division 1 bound players.

“They were on another level,” said Miller. “Whoever played them, that’s where their tournament ended.”

Beating Oakridge in the championship semi-finals was another accomplishment, with Miller noting Oakridge has been a powerhouse at the “AAA” level that now plays at the “AA” division.

“The team they had was phenomenal,” said Miller. “For us to play as a team and knock them off was pretty amazing.”

The coaching staff, which also included Mary Ewer and Mya Foreman, were pleased with all of the players on the team.

“Lauren Essenpreis was just a special player at this tournament influencing the game in every way possible.  Good serving, passing, defense and of course an offensive wrecking machine,” said Miller. “If Lauren was ‘Batman’ throughout, Emily Beauregard was a terrific ‘Robin’ as she was outstanding throughout as well having big matches in the quarters and bronze medal matches for example.” 

Essenpreis had 34 kills in the bronze medal match, which is “an insane number,” while Beauregard had 16.

“Lily Mulder has been getting better all season and saved her best for last,” said Miller. “Her setting, game management and athleticism at the net was truly impressive to watch. Audrey Dib and Morgan Hadfield were forced to play different positions than what they are used to and performed extremely well at all times. They were very reliable servers, defenders and were big parts of making our ‘out of system’ offense flow as freely as it does.” 

Miller added: “Jerzie Rego had her role increase dramatically once the situation happened with Lillian's injury and she ran with the opportunity.  She made the best of her opportunity and got better in each match!  Abby Beaudoin and Brianna Renaud were key contributors throughout the season and were valuable members in the success of the team.”

Essenpreis makes players better around her and will be counted on next season. Prieur will also be back next season, but the other eight players graduate.

“They pulled together and found a way,” Miller said of this year’s team. “They became very resilient and mentally tough.”

The Wolves have advanced to OFSAA both years of North Star’s existence, but dating back to the program’s roots at General Amherst High School, they have appeared at OFSAA 13 times in the last 17 high school volleyball seasons. Those appearances have resulted in nine medals - three gold, two silver, two bronze, and two antique bronze.  They have also won a consolation championship and have finished in the top nine in all 13 appearances.  The program’s OFSAA match record over the years is 69-15.  

Miller said this year the Wolves finished with a 28-3 record - going 6-1 at the OFSAA Championships.

“This team got every ounce out of what they had.  It is one of the most overachieving teams I have coached.  Very proud of this group for always finding a way to get things done,” he said.

Wolves come home from OFSAA with a bronze medal

By Ron Giofu



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