Newman wins the numbers game

Lucky number 22 came through for the Cardinal Newman Cardinals.

And Newman coach Gerry Buordolone had a premonition she would.

Forward Kristen Farkas, who wears jersey No. 22, netted the deciding goal in the first of two 10-minute overtime periods to lift Cardinal Newman to a 2-1 senior girls’ high school soccer victory over the St. Jean de Brebeuf Braves on Tuesday (May 28). It was a second-straight Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic Athletic Association title for the Cardinals.

Kristen Farkas (22) scored in overtime to lead Cardinal Newman to victory. (Photo: Gerry Graham)

“I was telling Kristen before the game that ‘this is our 22nd game and you’re No. 22,’” Buordolone said. ‘“You’re going to be the difference in this game.’

“I feel so happy for her.”

Both teams advance to the Golden Horseshoe Athletic Conference Quad A playoffs Thursday (May 30). Newman will face Oakville’s Holy Trinity Titans in a semifinal beginning at 2:30 p.m. at McMaster’s Alumni Field, while Brebeuf takes on the Bishop Reding Royals in the other semifinal at noon in Milton.

Playing through rain and heavy fog at the St. Thomas More Secondary School field, first-place Newman remained undefeated in league play. Farkas kept the streak alive with a tap-in goal past goalkeeper Sarah Batchelor.

“The overtime goal was a pass from Chelsea Clifford,” said Newman forward Andrea Petrina. “I crossed it to Kristen. I knew for sure she was going to be there.

“(Brebeuf) gave us a good competition. It was a hard challenge.”

Brebeuf, which lost 1-0 in overtime to Newman in last year’s city final at Ivor Wynne Stadium, grabbed the early lead. Gabby Krebs of the Braves outraced onrushing goalkeeper Caprice Major to the ball before rolling a shot into the open net midway through the second half.

Three minutes later, however, Erin Gonazales scored on the rush when she sliced through an opening for an uncontested shot on Batchelor.

Brebeuf coach Julie Perri was still shaking her head after the game about an offside call that cost the Braves a goal in about the 30th minute. From relatively close range, Cierra Torosantucci curled a shot towards the far post and it was unclear whether Kayla Vespa headed the ball before it went into the net.

“We came out with momentum and played a great first half,” Perri said. “It was a sketchy callback on a goal. Our player (Vespa) didn’t even touch the ball. Therefore, it should have been a goal. The linesman saw what the linesman saw.

“It was a hard-fought game. It could have gone either way. We held them right to the end.”

While she says it would have been special to win the city championship, Perri welcomes a second chance at glory. Brebeuf can still advance to the OFSAA tournament by way of a GHAC victory. “We’ve never been to OFSAA,” she said. “I think we have a team that could put up a good fight there.”

Buordolone said the Cardinals have only trailed twice to teams in their 22 starts. And both led to come-from-behind victories in championship games. The first occasion was at McMaster tournament – against Holy Trinity.

“All season we’ve found a way to win,” Buordolone said. “It speaks to the character of the girls on our team.”

At the Triple A level, two other HWCAA teams are in GHAC playoff action Thursday. The Bishop Ryan Celtics travel to Burlington to face the Notre Dame Fightin’ Irish at 3 p.m. and the St. Mary Crusaders meet the Corpus Christi Longhorns at 1 p.m. at Mac’s Alumni Field.

Both the Triple A and Quad A GHAC finals take place Friday at McMaster Alumni Field. The times have yet to be determined.