Newman heads to GHAC after volleyball win

Newman heads to GHAC after volleyball win
Posted on 11/10/2023
Newman volleyball team

By Larry Moko

For the third-straight year the St. John Henry Newman Cardinals hoisted the hardware as champions of Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic senior boys’ volleyball.

The latest title for the Cardinals came Thursday when they travelled to the St. Thomas More gym and defeated the Knights, 3-0. The scores were 25-18, 25-21, 26-24.

The first-place Knights lost only once in 14 starts during the regular schedule. Naturally, as a result, they were hopeful of capturing their first league championship in the sport since 1999.

Second-place Newman ended up with a 12-2 record – both losses coming against More.

“It’s exciting,” Newman left side Anthony Rotella said after the trophy and medal presentations. “This is the first time a team has won three times in a row since the 1980s.”

Rotella, a Grade 12 student, executed the match-ending point.

Newman coach Brian Pavlic said the opposing strategies of the two talented teams made the game “like a chess match.”

“It was very tight,” he said. “We knew coming in that St. Thomas More was a very polished team. A lot of their players play together (rep for Mountain Athletic Club) and they have good chemistry.”

Pavlic praised his team’s defensive performance.

“We were attacking and our defence was phenomenal today. I said we would have to play defence out of our minds to win the championship. We didn’t let a ball hit the floor for most of the game.”

Leading point-getters for Newman were Rotella, Nathaniel Pavlic, Nathan Nikolic and Matthew Millar.

“Rotella is one of our big hitters,” the Newman coach said. “He played a solid game. He was good defensively, as well.

“Anthony wants to play at the collegiate level. And I think he’ll be able to find a spot.”

Guiding the Newman attack was setter Noah Letnik. “Our setter made great decisions,” Pavlic said.

More, which led 24-23 in the third set, got a lift on offence from the production of middle Abraham Julien. Other top scorers for the Knights were Marcus Solano and Miles Hampson.

“The boys played three grueling matches today,” More coach Patrick Carpanini said. “Unfortunately, it’s not the result we wanted.

“The turning point was losing the first two sets. When you do that, it’s incredibly difficult to win three straight in volleyball. In that third set we were within two points. And I believe if we had won that set we would have won three straight. I’m very proud of everybody on the team for their commitment all season long.”

With the win, Newman advances to a Golden Horseshoe Athletic Conference semifinal Tuesday against Oakville’s Garth Webb Chargers.

Other Newman players included Michael Ciarmoli, Massimo Cuda, Paolo Fazzari, Hayden Matecki, Joey Wrobel, Eli Bain, Cameron Cassidy, Daniel Guagliano, Wyatt Humphrey, Guiseppe Palmero and Domenic Fidanza.

In junior boys’ volleyball, the Bishop Tonnos Titans won the championship with a 3-1 decision over the visitors from More (25-16, 17-25, 25-19, 27-25). Each team had a 13-1 record at the end of the regular schedule.

Newman volleyball playerNewman and STM volleyball gameSTM volleyball teamNewman Volleyball teamPhotos by Richard Andoga