By Ottawa Sportspage, for Louis-Riel Rebelles
Duplication is the name of the game for Antoine and Olivier Ducharme. The identical twin brothers recently completed the remarkable feat of back-to-back provincial championships with both their high school and club volleyball teams.
They won their second OFSAA gold medal in a row with the Louis-Riel Rebelles this past fall, and then earned a repeat Ontario crown with their Maverick 17-and-under boys’ club team in April.
“We’re always competitive and we set goals to push ourselves to be better,” highlights right-side hitter Antoine, who stands opposite left-side Olivier on the court. “He pushes me a lot. I’d say that’s the main goal for me – to be better than my brother.”
The Ducharme household is a competitive one, especially once you throw a third brother into the mix – Antoine and Olivier’s fraternal triplet Vincent, also a strong volleyball talent whose energy sparks the Rebelles.
“We get along, but we have friendly fights,” details Olivier. “Card games, video games, we’ll play table tennis and the loser will have to do the dishes – anything.”
Not every moment together is a fun one, but the brothers cherish the journeys they’ve experienced during their recent run of success.
“When I grow up, I’ll get to look back on it, and when I see the picture, I’m sure it’ll be a cool feeling to know that we did it together,” Olivier underlines.
Two other players were also part of the championships with both the Rebelles and the Mavs – setter Jacob Matheson and middle Francis Bessette.
“We’re really close. We all like hanging out together,” Antonie notes. “It’s a brotherhood.”
Bessette was named a club provincial all-star this season – just two years removed from not even making the top Mavs team.
“It’s pretty amazing,” reflects the Grade 11 student with a 91% average at school. “I’m a little bit of an underdog. Nobody really knows me, so getting the all-star is a big thing; it’s pretty cool that the coaches noticed me.”
Bessette says joining Louis-Riel’s sports-study program in Grade 9 has been instrumental to his rise, helping him to improve in all aspects of his game through extra repetitions, weightlifting/conditioning, and his daily work under Louis-Riel and Mavs coach François St-Denis, a past Team Canada coach now set to lead Ontario to the 2021 Canada Summer Games.
“(St-Denis) is demanding, but in a good way,” signals Bessette, who’s eyeing a university volleyball scholarship and would like to study engineering.
“He’s strict, but he wants the best out of you, and he’s going to get the best out of you. He’s going to push you to your limit and you’re definitely going to get better.”