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T. Michael Hennessy, Law Office
Caruso Club
Friday, Sep. 22, 2017
Cambrian men target playoff berth
2017-09-01
by Randy Pascal

After dropping games on back to back weekends to the Orillia Lightning in July, the SDSC (Sudbury District Soccer Club) Celtic U16 boys were not about to feel all too badly when the same opponent arrived with an undermanned squad, last Saturday, to close out Huronia District Soccer League regular season play.

The Celtics outscored the Lightning 6-0, with Adam Tear and Giovanni Mastroianni showing the way with two goals apiece for the locals. Luca Mastrioianni and Nik Donato rounded out the scoring for Sudbury, as coach Wayne Trainor’s crew posted a record of 4-6-2, finishing fourth in the five team loop.

The balance of the Celtic entry is made up of Saim Saqib, Aidan Luoma, Ethan Sheppard, Brayden Beaupre, Andrew Simser, Larry Gauthier, Jordan Pincivero, Tyler Dupont, Keenan Rocca, Matt Caufield, Stefano Mastroianni, Noah Caufield and Connor Trainor.

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While the Cambrian Golden Shield women’s soccer team is poised to make a run at a provincial championship in a season in which the all-Ontario playdowns are taking place in Sudbury, the men’s team is dealing with more questions than answers, simply hoping to crack post-season play.

“We had a lot of turnover this year, so there’s a lot of new faces, but I think our style will be traditional Cambrian style, a very defensive game, try and minimize errors, and be opportunistic on the counter,” noted head coach Giuseppe Politi after practice this week. “It’s going to be a tough regular season. Let’s see if we can make the playoffs in a very tough division.”

The team will boast several newcomers in key positions, including some returnees who were perhaps not starters in prior years. Second year keeper Dylan Roossien might have the toughest shoes to fill, following in the footsteps of Cambrian Male Athlete of the Year, Evan Phillips. Still, the Ottawa native is the first to acknowledge that a year on the sidelines might well have done him a world of good.

“The biggest thing from last year was being able to watch the difference in caliber of play from what I was used to,” said Roossien. “Watching Evan, and how he was able to handle situations and how he was able to play, was helpful. The biggest adjustment I have to make is my patience, knowing when to make my decisions, reading the play to know when to come off my line, or stay in the net.”

As for the remainder of the squad, Roossien suggested the move to the OCAA Central Division, with its balanced parity of top-end teams, creates a clear focus for the Shield. “I think we will not have a problem putting balls in the net,” he stated. “Our season will come down to keeping goals out of our net. We’re going to be up against teams like Humber, George Brown, Sheridan and they like to move the ball side to side. We have to stay sharp in terms of moving with the ball.”

The confidence in the offense is interesting, given that it is also one area of the pitch where coach Politi will feature freshman talent. Few on the team are more “fresh” than 18 year old Augustus Oku, an eighteen year old Toronto native. Born in Nigeria, the well-spoken teenager moved to Canada at the age of ten.

Thankfully, he did not miss a beat in remaining with the primary sport that was the passion of his youth in Africa. “In Nigeria, it was a lot more physical soccer, that’s how I developed a more physical game,” said Oku. “As a striker, I feel I have bits of everything, but mostly, I’m a strong and physical player. I play well with my back to the net, and I hold up the play, get others involved.”

Most importantly, he wanted to come to Sudbury. “I love the smaller community here, this is what I wanted. I wanted to be away from the big city. And I like what coach Giuseppe is doing, focusing more on the tactical things. Technically, we’re all really gifted.”

While that might be true, no one in the Cambrian locker room knows more about the relative strength of his team that does Politi. “A lot of the teams we’re up against have players that are playing at such a high level, all of the time, that their ability to keep possession is a lot better than our players,” he acknowledged. “We have to be compact defensively and hopefully hit teams on the counter.”

“It’s a team that has potential, but still a lot of question marks,” Politi continued. “I’m glad we only have one game on our opening weekend.” Cambrian will open the fall schedule on Saturday, September 9th, welcoming the Sheridan Bruins to the New Sudbury complex.

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The Sudbury District Sports Club season ending Adult Co-ed Tournament was hosted last weekend at the Howard Armstrong Sports Complex, in Valley East. In semi-final play, Bear Den United squeezed past Average Joe’s 2-1, while South End United outlasted Notre Dame United 3-1.

The championship affair proved to be a wide open offensive flurry as South End United stopped Bear Den United 5-3. Also making their way through to the quarter-finals were Beercelona, Dusty Slugs FC, Valley East Renegades and Boom.

The SDSC adult component will now focus their attention on the upcoming 7 vs 7 fall campaign, with play kicking off on Wednesday, September 6th. The league will utilize the James Jerome Sports Complex for their first three sets of games, before heading over to Delki Dozzi for the balance.

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