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T. Michael Hennessy, Law Office
Caruso Club
Friday, Sep. 22, 2017
Competitive soccer coming to a close
2017-08-18
by Randy Pascal

A couple of slow starts and near misses early on would leave the GSSC (Greater Sudbury Soccer Club) Impact U21 men just one point shy of the second place goal that they targeted. Still, rookie head coach Evan Phillips was seeing far more of a glass half full shortly after the team closed out regular season play, last Sunday, with a 4-3 win over FC Durham Academy.

“Third place in this league, with a pretty much new team, is very, very good,” noted the former goaltending standout at Cambrian College. Kristian Shuttleworth paced the Sudbury attack with a three goal effort, with Carter Hanson netting a solo marker, while Austin Leach, Dumani Ewart and Wyatt Williams replied in a losing cause for the Academy.

Spotting early season opponents a first half lead would leave the Impact sitting at 0-2-2 with four games in the books, a record that ultimately improved to 5-3-2 as the locals won five of their final six games. In edging the same team that they had previously played to a 2-2 draw on the road, the Impact demonstrated both good and bad, in the eyes of their coach.

“Finishing wise, we were much more clinical than we have been the last few weeks,” said Phillips. “We took care of our chances. We were pretty good with the ball, for the most part. Basically, I think we had three mental lapses, each of which ended up in the net, which was frustrating. We wanted to score more than we wanted to defend, at times, which cost us.”

Just a year removed from his own OCAA playing days, Phillips was fully aware that there would be a learning curve in play, both for he and his players this summer. “It was definitely a little different than I expected, I don’t have a lot of patience,” he said with a laugh. “I had to learn not to be overly critical, not to rush things, letting some things happen and play out. Some guys will figure things out.”

“From last year’s team, this morphed into the new ’97 and ’98 group, and a couple of ‘99s,” Phillips noted. “They’re all coming up now. This is slowly becoming their team. The leaders, beyond (veterans) Nick Walker and Connor Vande Weghe, were guys like (Brandon) Moxam, Carter Hanson, a new addition that came out of nowhere.”

Making the jump from the Impact U18 team of 2016, after not suiting up in the competitive soccer ranks for a few years, Simon Brock was fairly indicative of a healthy new influx of talent that showed plenty of encouraging development, competing in the Ontario Soccer League U21 Provincial East Division.

“I was not even a defender last year,” said Brock. “I changed here and it’s helped me, and futsal has helped me a lot too. I can defend a lot better, I’m quick enough to run back if I get burned. And it’s fun playing with these guys – they motivate you every practice.”

A graduate of the Sacré-Coeur Griffons' program this past June, Brock is looking to crack the Golden Shield roster this fall, partially due to his versatility. “I’m willing to play anywhere,” he said. “I don’t care if I score goals, I don’t care if I don’t score goals. I just want to win with the team.”

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Another solid tournament showing for the GSSC Impact U14 Girls, making it through to the semi-finals of the Heart of York Summer Classic in Newmarket before being eliminated on penalty kicks.

The locals stumbled out of the starting gates, dropping a 3-0 decision to the Woodbridge Strikers, the team that would eventually go on to claim gold. Just a couple of hours later, the Sudbury crew would even their record at 1-1, posting a 4-0 whitewash over East Gwillimbury as Kristen Mrozewski showed the way with a two goal performance for the winners.

Grace Cranston and Jayda Cacciotti added one goal apiece, with Michela Bussolaro registering a clean slate in net for the Impact. More of the same in game three as the GSSC girls made it back to back 4-0 victories, blanking the St Catharines Jets.

Joining Mrozewski and Cacciotti on the scoresheet, for the northern reps, were Isabelle Cotnoir and Lauren Fearn. Sudbury would find themselves holding down second place in their pool of four teams, and pitted against the Southwest Fury from London in semi-final action on Sunday afternoon.

Mrozewski netted the only goal of the opening half, giving the Impact a 1-0 lead, only to see the Fury pull even in the game’s dying moments, before escaping with a win in penalty kicks, outscoring the locals 4-2 in the shootout.

The 2017 edition of the GSSC Impact U14 girls team also includes Emily Binks, Mia Binks, Emma Coutu, Nora Dzuirban, Tessa Favero, Elizabeth Laberge, Kyra Mallory, Maeve McNamara, Alexie Olivier, Mackenzie Roberts, Alison Symington, Arijana Tuttle, and coaches Matt Binks, Clarissa McArthur and Chris Binks.

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In other local competitive soccer action, the SDSC (Sudbury District Soccer Club) Celtics U18 Boys kept their hopes alive of pulling into a 6th place tie in the Central Soccer League 13-team division, edging the Pickering Power 2-1 last Sunday at James Jerome.

Jonathan Grebe and Noah Lasorsa vaulted the Sudbury lads into a 2-0 lead, before Pickering rallied to make a game of it with a late tally. With the win, the Celtics bumped their season mark up to 4-6-1, good for 13 points, one behind King United and three back of both Pickering and Markham.

All teams in the league have closed out regular season play, with the exception of Sudbury and Collingwood, who will wrap up the summer of 2017 this coming Sunday at 2:00 p.m. at the James Jerome Sports Complex.

Collingwood sports a record of 1-8-2 coming into this encounter. Meanwhile, the SDSC U15 girls dropped a heart-breaker last Saturday, beaten 1-0 by Whitby as Leah Baker drilled home the only goal of the contest.

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