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Thursday, May. 24, 2018
SDSSAA sending A teams to OFSAA soccer
by Randy Pascal

Sudbury will be sending their "A" teams to the OFSAA Soccer Championships this week.

A pair of SDSSAA entries are representing NOSSA at OFSAA "A" Soccer Championships, with the Macdonald-Cartier Panthères girls team off to Toronto, while the St Benedict Bears boys squad makes what seems like an annual trek to provincials, this time in Windsor.

After surprising the St Charles College Cardinals 2-1 in the city final, the Panthères upended the Algonquin Barons 3-2 in North Bay on Friday, as Ariane Saumure scored twice, and Kyra Leeson added the remaining marker.

"We were all pretty confident that we could make it to NOSSA, and possibly OFSAA," noted 15 year-old incoming grade 10 keeper Mireille Paquette. "When we practiced, it almost felt like we had been together three or four years."

Still, despite the presence of the familiar competitive soccer talents of Saumure, Bélanger, Lina Audet and others, Macdonald-Cartier boasted a relatively young team, with newcomers at several key positions, including in net.

"I played in net in the small fields, with the small nets," recalled Paquette of her previous experience with the Valley East Soccer Club, dating back to her days playing in U10 and younger.

"I liked being a goalie with the small nets, and my sister (Sophie) was the goalie with Macdonald-Cartier last year, so I thought I would take over. You really have to learn to cover more place, so you have to move faster, and you have to kick a lot harder on the bigger field."

Advancing to OFSAA soccer for the first time in her secondary career before she heads to Laurentian University in the fall, Audet knows that it has taken valuable contributions from players of all skill levels in order for the Panthères to reach their goal.

"A lot of our other girls stepped up really well, and our back line has improved gradually, gotten better with every game that we play," she said. Add in the constant scoring threat that is Saumure, and you have the makings of a team that can do some damage.

"Ariane has great speed, and if you can get the ball past the defenders, she is able to do the rest," said Audet. "You just have to get in the right position to get the ball to her. With Alexis (Bélanger) and myself in the middle, we could pass the ball around to play it to her."

Meanwhile, the Bears boys steamrolled the Franco-Cité Patriotes from Sturgeon Falls 6-1 in the NOSSA final in Sudbury, as Max MacGillivray and Alain Huneault scored two goals each. Robbie Castrechino and James Pinheiro added the others, while Max Piquette replied in a losing cause.

The Patriotes juniors salvaged the trip to Sudbury, edging the Confederation Chargers 2-1 on goals from Marco Brazeau and Nick Langevin, with Colton Blay countering for Confed.

The St Mary's Knights from Sault Ste Marie claimed the senior boys "AAA" crown with ease, blasting the Widdifield Wildcats 7-0 in the final, with Lucas Stefano scoring twice for the winners.

The Knights opened the day with a 1-0 victory over the Lockerby Vikings, while Widdifield advanced with a 2-1 win over Confederation. The junior "AAA" final went to overtime before David Campbell of St Mary's netted the game's only goal, lifting the Knights past Lockerby 1-0.

The St Charles girls edged the Superior Heights Steelhawks 2-1 in the NOSSA "AA" semi-final Friday morning in the Lock City, but could not overcome the absence of four players with injuries in the final, blanked 3-0 by the St Joseph Scollard Hall Bears.

The macdonald-Cartier girls will open play at OFSAA Wednesday morning at 11:00 a.m., facing the North Toronto Christian School Flames, while St Benedict will do battle with the Guido de Bres Gryphons from Hamilton early Thursday morning.

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