Turnabout is fair play. Now the St. Thomas More Knights know what it feels like to have your heart broken.
It was More that edged the favoured Cardinal Newman Express, 1-0, in last year’s Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic Athletic Association senior boys’ high school soccer championship, snapping Newman’s 35-game overall unbeaten streak.
On Tuesday (May 28), however, it was Newman’s turn to dish out the disappointment. The CN Express arrived at the home field of St. Thomas More and handed the first-place Knights their first league loss of the 2013 campaign. It was a convincing 2-0 decision for Newman in the HWCAA final.
The Cardinal Newman Express carried the ball to a convincing win. (Photo: Gerry Graham)
It’s been either St. Thomas More or Newman hoisting the hardware in city Catholic boys’ senior soccer for over a decade.
Newman advances to play Oakville’s Loyola Hawks Thursday at Loyola for the Golden Horseshoe Athletic Conference Quad A title. Game time is 3 p.m. The winner of that qualifies for the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations tournament, June 5-8 at Toronto St. Michael’s College.
Grade 12 student Patrick Ciaramella fired both goals for Newman, the second coming on a penalty shot in the final minute. Phil Gillen made a handful of difficult stops to earn the shutout.
“It was a little surprising,” Newman coach Gerry Moretuzzo said of the outcome. “They earned home field advantage and we had to come up here. It was no easy task. I was a bit nervous about how we were going to start, with the fog and a lot of other variables.
“I just asked the guys to play together and work as a unit.”
Moretuzzo said he didn’t sleep the night before the championship, thinking often about juggling his lineup and employing different formations.
Newman opened the scoring on an eye-popping individual effort by Ciaramella in the 37th minute of the first half. His high, lofting shot from about 30 yards found the top part of the net.
“A defender of ours, Ante Dasovic, sent the ball down the middle of the field,” Ciaramella said of what proved to be the winning goal. “The ball was bouncing. There was a defender next to me, so I really couldn’t do much. I looked up and I saw the keeper was maybe seven or eight yards off his line. I took a crack at it. Sometimes, to be good, you need a bit of luck, right?”
Knights goalkeeper Daniel Palladino says Newman sent in a long ball and he was a little too far out of position in front to make the save when the shot was taken. As he backpedalled, his hands were extended high over his head.
“I couldn’t reach it,” Palladino said. “I did tip it, but it was off my right hand. I couldn’t get enough of it to put it over the net.”
For Ciaramella, it was the first soccer championship of his high school career.
“That’s a striker’s goal,” Moretuzzo said. “A goal-scorers goal. Not many guys can do that. To sneak a peek when you’re running full blast and to kick it over a goalkeeper’s head … that’s a tough one, but fantastic.”
Both Moretuzzo and More coach Dino Perri formally played for Newman’s OFSAA soccer teams.
“They played an excellent game and deserved to win,” said Perri, who has been a senior coach at More for 13 years, making 11 championship appearances and winning eight league titles. He also has captured three Ontario university crowns in five years as coach of the McMaster Marauders.
Said Perri: “You’ve got to capitalize on your chances and we didn’t do that today.
“We didn’t execute. Bottom line. We didn’t follow what we set out to do. We fell short. We didn’t show up today.”
Other Newman players were Damian Heaney, Justin Connolly, Marcus DiLoreto, Anthony Valeri, Matthew Antonucci, Fabio Tome, Denis Nagy, Anthony Cino, Anton Buretic, Alex Viola, Joseph Divincentis, Tiris Mingo, Daniel Lamanna, Daniel Petermann and Christian Pizzuti.
The HWCAA’s Bishop Ryan Celtics will vie for a GHAC Triple A boys’ soccer championship beginning Thursday when they face Burlington Notre Dame (1 p.m. at Mohawk Sports Complex).