It could be a good omen for the Cardinal Newman Cardinals.
The Newman girls’ indoor soccer team recently won the 14th annual Grimsby Blessed Trinity Classic for a third straight year. And what did the Cardinals do following those Blessed Trinity tournament titles of 2011 and 2012? They went on to win the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic Athletic Association indoor soccer championship.
Coached by Anthony Sambuco and Franco Digiodanni, Newman qualified for the 2013 HWCAA final with a 2-1 victory over the St. Thomas More Knights on Thursday (April 4) at Players Paradise Sports Complex. The other semi-final saw the St. Mary Crusaders edge the St. Jean de Brebeuf Braves, 2-1, in a shootout.
The league championship game is scheduled for 3:40 p.m. Tuesday (April9) at Players Paradise.
Alyssa Cerino and Kristen Farkas struck for unanswered first-half goals for the first-place Cardinals (4-1-1), who earned an opening round bye in the playoffs.
“As a whole, we played as a team,” Sambuco said. “You can’t count on just one or two people. All the parts have to work. You’ve got to be able to communicate and, defensively, everybody has got to be there supporting each other. The girls are fantastic in doing that.”
Oddly enough, the same day the Cardinals won this year’s Blessed Trinity Classic, they also suffered an embarrassing loss. They got blown out, 6-1, by St. Mary in the final game of the regular season. However, it should be noted that Newman was playing under difficult circumstances and a similar one-sided result isn’t anticipated for the league final.
“The last time we played (St. Mary), it was probably just fatigue,” Sambuco said. “It was our seventh game of the day. We played four round-robin games, a semi-final and a championship. The tournament ended at 3 o’clock and then we had to travel across the city to play the league game at SoccerWorld.
“The thing that pleased me was we played and didn’t quit.”
St. Mary realizes Newman is going to be pumped up for the return engagement.
“They are a juggernaut,” Crusaders’ coach John Ivinac said of the Cardinals. “They have a great program and wonderful players. It’s not going to be the same as last game, I’ll tell you that much.”
St. Mary (2-1-3) got a second-half goal when Sarah Sloan’s crossing pass changed direction in front when it went off the upper body of a Brebeuf defender. The Braves (2-1-3) connected for the only goal of the first half when Cierra Torosantucci slid a clever pass through to Jivon Yacou.
In the shootout (no overtime period is played), St. Mary’s goalkeeper Emily Piccini stopped both penalty kicks while sisters Lindsay and Haley Nedelko booted goals past Braves’ netminder Sarah Batchelor.
“It was very intense,” Piccini said of the shootout. “I just hoped for the best.”
Piccini says she won an indoor soccer championship in Grade 9 and would like to go out a winner in Grade 12. “I’m excited to play Newman,” she said.
Coach Julie Perri, whose Braves blanked the Cathedral Gaels, 3-0, in a quarter-final, said her team turned in a solid effort and had a lot of good scoring opportunities.
“Nobody likes to lose in a shootout,” Perri said. “It’s tough. Especially with only three shooters. If you miss one, the odds are definitely against you.”
According to Perri, the loss was disappointing, but not as hard to swallow as Brebeuf’s outdoor soccer championship loss in overtime to Newman last spring. Brebeuf was undefeated heading into that contest.
“The girls will hang their heads for a few days,” Perri said, “but we’ll be right back into training on Monday. At least we have the outdoor season to go.”
The HWCAA boys’ indoor soccer final is Monday (April 8) at 3:40 at Players Paradise. Cardinal Newman faces the first-place Bishop Tonnos Titans.