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Thursday, Jun. 21, 2018
Armiento earns Cambrian men a stalemate
by Randy Pascal

It would take a late penalty kick goal from Marco Armiento to achieve the final result, but the Cambrian Golden Shield would eventually settle for a 1-1 season-opening draw with the Fleming Knights.

In a hard fought game that would see double digit yellow cards handed out, the visitors opened the scoring in the 65th minute, when Taishu Chan jumped on a loose ball, just off the goal line, rewarding the Knights who had been pressing hard for a while.

Trailing with under twenty minutes to play, Cambrian coach Giuseppe Politi opted to move Armiento, a mainstay alongside team captain Aaron Dent in the interior of the back line, up on the attack.

The move paid dividends in the 90th minute, when a handball resulted in a penalty shot for the homeside, as Armiento calmly drilled the ball into the corner of the net.

The tie was a decent start for a team that did not open the 2015 campaign in style. "Last year, I think it took a while for our players to gel together," noted right fullback Nicholas Walker.

In fact, it wasn't until the OCAA overturned a 1-0 Fleming victory over Cambrian, due to the use of an inelligible player, that the Shield really hit their stride. "Once we got that extra win from Fleming, I don't think we lost again until the semi-finals," noted Walker.

"I think it was that extra boost we needed to gel together and save our season." In what has become something of a tried and true tradition, the Cambrian men focused on defending efficiently on Saturday, ensuring the contest would remain close.

"We try and get into a position that we like in a game, set up shop, and try and be difficult to break down," said Walker. "If there's one thing we can work on, almost always, it's counter-attacking. When we get those chances, we really have to take advantage of them. There's some games where we don't get very many."

Walker is one of several local products who can draw on existing post-secondary experience. For the likes of rookies Eric Sampson (Collège Notre-Dame) and Brandon Moxam (St Benedict), game one was something of an eye opener.

"I noticed the intensity is a lot higher, for sure," said Sampson, who just turned 18 in June and is beginning his three year program in Civil Engineering Technology. "It's a faster paced game, decisions are quicker. It's a big change, for sure."

While Sampson has enjoyed several summers competing with Greater Sudbury Soccer Club Impact competitive boys teams, the months leading into his first year at Cambrian would see the shifty midfielder working full-time, bypassing his normal pre-season preparation.

"It was a challenge, at first, keeping up with the fitness. Now, it's OK. The biggest thing, again, is trying to predict everything, trying to always be one step ahead. You've got to know, as soon as you get the ball, where you are passing it."

The Cambrian are back in action at home this coming weekend, facing the Algonquin Thunder on Saturday, and the St Lawrence Vikings on Sunday. The first road games of the year, for the Shield, are the following weekend, versus the Fleming Knights and Durham Lords.

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