(This article was first sent to subscribers of the Ottawa at the Canada Summer Games Daily Newsletter. Sign up to receive it, for free, here.)
By Dan Plouffe, Charlie Pinkerton, Mark Colley & Adamo Marinelli
On the Ontario women’s volleyball team, every player is a peer. But Kate Lamothe’s life experience to get to the Canada Summer Games is different from almost everyone else on the roster.
She’s one of only two 19-year-olds on the 12-person roster, and also one of the few players to be currently enrolled at university. The Thompson Rivers University student has taken on a leadership role with her team as a “big sister,” she said.
“You don’t really notice that age gap,” said Lamothe, who previously played for the Maverick Volleyball Club in Ottawa. “All the girls are comfortable hanging out with each other one-on-one, small groups, big groups.”
While the team lost three sets to one against Manitoba at Niagara College on Thursday, their closeness — cheered along by the boisterous Ontario fans and family — is apparent.
“We’ve really clicked. A lot of the girls are really like-minded,” Lamothe explained, crediting the two months the team had together and her coaches for encouraging team bonding.
As a result of having university experience under her belt, Lamothe said she’s more familiar with the pressure-packed situations that the Games bring. She’s also learned the importance of communication.
“Something you learn at university is no matter who you are, where you’re from, you can lend that support to others,” she explained. “I just try to be nice and vocal and talk it out and try not to think about my mistakes.”
Ontario has now won two of its first three matches, finishing second in Pool D behind the undefeated Manitoba. The team will face Saskatchewan in the quarterfinals at 2 p.m. today at the Canada Games Park.
The match against Manitoba was Ontario’s tightest and most intense of the Games so far. Ontario rolled over Nova Scotia 3-0 on Tuesday and edged past Quebec 3-1 on Wednesday, but the action against Manitoba was neck-and-neck.
Ontario won the first set 25-19, then found themselves on their heels in a 25-16 loss. In the third set, the teams were tied 19-19 before Manitoba took a late lead and won. Manitoba took a quick 14-8 lead in the decisive set and Ontario’s late comeback wasn’t enough.
“It was a very crazy game. We knew walking into it it was going to be a tough one,” Lamothe said. “The determination and the motivation was there. I think in a few ways we just fell a little short. We know what we need to work on for next time.”
Despite taking their first loss of the Games, Lamothe said this won’t set them back mentally — or even in the standings, where they now have worse seeding but still make it to the quarterfinals.
“We’ve got a lot of really strong values that we stick to, so even though we didn’t finish as well as we wanted to, this is still motivation,” Lamothe said. “It gets us fired up, because we know we can do better. We’ve got so many more levels we can get to.”
Lamothe said her team is ready to get a win in the quarterfinals, even though they finished as a lower seed and will be playing a better opponent.
Ottawa is a canoe-kayak town
Atlético Ottawa fans might say Ottawa is a soccer town. Ottawa Redblacks fans might say Ottawa is a football town. Ottawa Senators and Ottawa 67s fans might say Ottawa is a hockey town. Carleton Ravens and Ottawa BlackJacks fans might say Ottawa is a basketball town.
These Summer Games are proving Ottawa is a canoe-kayak town.
Ottawa athletes continued to dominate in the discipline on Thursday, collecting another six medals to add to their already mind-boggling total.
Maren Bradley, who already had three gold medals to her name, added a silver in the K4 200-metre event. Ydris Hunter upped his total with silver in the C1 200-metre and bronze in the C2 mixed 500-metre. He won that bronze with fellow Ottawa athlete Zoe Wojtyk.
Matt O’Neill and Peter Bradley (silver in the IC4 500-metre and bronze in the IC4 200-metre) and Evie McDonald (silver in the C1 200-metre) rounded out Ottawa’s dominant performance on the water.
Wins in lacrosse and soccer
In other action, the Ontario box lacrosse team finished its clean sweep of pool play with a 15-3 win over Nova Scotia at the Canada Games Park. Gloucester Griffins product Hunter Lubiniecki contributed two goals and two assists, while fellow Griffin Julien Belair chipped in with three assists.
Belair now has four goals and seven assists in three appearances at the Games.
In women’s soccer, Ontario followed up its 18-0 drubbing of the Yukon Territories on Tuesday with a 3-0 win over PEI. A goal in the last minute before added time sealed the victory.
The win sends Ontario to the semifinal, where it will face Nova Scotia on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. If Ontario wins, it will play in the gold medal game on Sunday.
Lucy Hempstead won silver in the women’s cycling road race, her second medal after taking home gold in the individual time trials.
Diver Audrée Howes finished 23rd in three-meter springboard, while sailor Aethan Cubitt put together two third-place finishes to move up to fifth in the single-handed laser standings.
After a first-place finish in the eight with coxswain preliminary race on Wednesday, rower Aidan Hembruff helped Ontario to another win in the men’s four heat on Thursday. Ontario finished nearly 20 seconds ahead of the second-place team but behind British Columbia and Alberta, who were competing in a separate heat.
What today brings
There’s plenty more medal opportunities in canoe-kayak today, with Ottawa athletes competing in medal round in the women’s K2 200-metre, IC4 200-metre, K1 5000-metre and C1 5000-metre, and men’s C2 200-metre and C1 5000-metre.
Ottawa will also have a chance to win medals in athletics when events start at 10:55 a.m.
The men’s box lacrosse team will kick off the quarterfinals at 5 p.m. against the winner of a New Brunswick-PEI game earlier in the day.
You can follow all the action today via live stream at niagara2022games.ca/watch.
(This article was first sent to subscribers of the free Ottawa at the Canada Summer Games Daily Newsletter. Sign us to receive it below!)
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