A pair of Perris will be vying for Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic high school soccer championships next week.
The husband and wife team of Dino and Julie Perri are the head coaches of teams that have already qualified for Tuesday’s (May 28) HWCAA senior showcase games. Julie guided her St. Jean de Brebeuf girls to a 3-0 playoff victory over the St. Mary Crusaders while Dino’s St. Thomas More Knights edged the Brebeuf Braves boys’ squad, 2-1. Both semi-finals were played Thursday (May 23) afternoon at St. Thomas More.
In the two other semi-finals, Cardinal Newman’s boys and girls each edged the Bishop Tonnos Titans, 1-0. The league finals are tentatively scheduled for the artificial surface at St. Thomas More. Times have yet to be determined.
“Once, in 2006, we both won a championship,” Julie said of the Perri household’s high school coaching background. “We beat St. Mary and they (St. Thomas More) beat Newman.”
The Brebeuf girls got two goals by Alex Parente and one from Alyssa Torosantucci – on a 35-yard free kick. Sarah Batchelor was in goal for the shutout. “It was a great shot,” Perri said of Torosantucci’s long, high blast. “It was the moment that allowed us to breathe. At 2-0, anything can still happen.”
St. Mary won the recent HWCAA girls’ indoor soccer title.
Parente, a Grade 12 student, left-footed a shot from the top of the box to give the Braves a 2-0 lead after she converted a crossing pass from Kayla Vespa to open the scoring.
“It’s exciting to get two goals in a semi-final,” Parente said. “I think we played really well. We passed the ball around and made a lot better plays than the last time we played St. Mary (a scoreless draw).”
According to Perri, Parente is effective as a striker because of her great composure on the ball. “She won’t necessarily be the player in there running around causing chaos. She’ll be the one that gets it to her feet, head up, with a quick shot every time. That composure allows her to score so many goals.”
Parente nearly notched a third goal. Gabby Krebs made a long run down the sideline with the ball before passing off to Parente, whose dangerous shot was caught by St. Mary goalkeeper Emily Piccini. Krebs, a tall, fast, Grade 10 student, was a constant threat on headers in front of the net.
So the Braves move on to face the Cardinal Newman Cardinals, who will be making their fifth straight appearance in the HWCAA girls’ finals.
“It’s going to be a battle,” Julie Perri said. “They’re a talented, strong, tough team. “But I think we can play with them. We have the physicality and the speed that we need. It’s just going to be who comes out harder that day.”
In the boys’ semifinal, the Knights grabbed a 2-0 lead on goals by Andrew Raco and Frank Lovasic. Brebeuf then replied in the final minute when Justin Massoti headed in a free kick by Carlo DeFeo.
“If we had a couple of more minutes, we might have had something to say,” Brebeuf coach Bruno Capretta said of the end result. “Give credit where credit is due. St. Thomas More is a very good team, quick to the ball. They play a lot of high pressure.”
Derek Steenbeek opened the scoring when he dribbled the ball past some defenders just past midfield before passing off to Raco who scored from the top of the box. On More’s second goal, Raco drove down the wing, passed over to Lucas Raposo who quickly relayed the ball across to Lovasic for the strike.
“We have a lot of experience,” said Raco, a veteran of the Knights’ 2012 OFSAA tournament team. “We know how to communicate well.”
The defending champion Cardinal Newman girls got past Tonnos on a goal by Andrea Petrina, while the Newman boys won on a goal by Pat Ciaramella.
“We really struggled holding BT off the scoresheet,” said Newman boys’ coach Gerry Moretuzzo. “They had three or four really good scoring chances. Hats off to our defence and goalie Phil Gillen, who had a stellar game. Another player who had a great game was our sweeper, Daniel Petermann.”
The Newman boys lost only once in 35 overall starts last season, and that was 1-0 to St. Thomas More in the city championship game.