Work brings dividends to Cardinal Newman

Practise makes perfect for the Cardinal Newman Cardinals junior girls’ soccer team.

“These girls have worked really hard throughout the season,” Newman coach Anthony Sambuco said after his Cardinals won the 2013 Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic Athletic Association championship at the St. Thomas More Secondary School field on Wednesday (June 5).

Cardinal Newman junior girls are all smiles after winning the 2013 HWCAA championship. (Photo: Vanessa Georgiades)

“Every time we had a practice, attendance was 100 per cent.

“They put in the time and the effort.”

The second-place Cardinals took the league title with a 1-0 victory over the fourth-place Bishop Tonnos Titans.

The lone goal was scored in the first minute of the second half by Jessica Woodbyrne, who has been alternating between striker and midfielder this season. A Grade 9 student, Woodbyrne’s floated shot from just outside the box went over the head of backpedalling Tonnos’ goalkeeper Bryanna Singh. The ball found the net between her outstretched hand and the crossbar.

Said Sambuco: “We always tell them shoot any time you get near the 18-yard box. It can be a nice little chip shot like you saw on that goal. That’s intelligence and awareness by the player more than anything. She’s a smart player.”

It was the seventh goal of the season for Woodbyrne, who also plays for a Saltfleet club team.

“When I touched the ball and got it on to my feet, I released it right away,” Woodbyrne said. “I knew it was going in. It went in the centre at the top. They played well. It took us a while to score.”

Woodbyrne also won a junior volleyball championship at Newman

“She’s been a very positive influence and a leader,” Sambuco said of Woodbyrne. “She’s bubbly and happy-go-lucky. It rubs off on her teammates.”

Tonnos coach Christina Barbati said the goal resulted from a breakdown on defence. And, according to the Tonnos coach, Singh’s “phenomenal” play kept the Titans in many games this season. Singh, in basketball, was also a member of the Blessed Sacrament Division I team that won the U-17 Ontario championship.

“I think Newman played a better possession game than we did,” Barbati said. “They were first to the ball. They beat us on the fundamentals. Congratulations to them. They were the better team today.”

Newman, which finished with a 4-1-1 record during the regular schedule, defeated Tonnos 3-1 in their earlier meeting. The Cardinals then blanked the Cathedral Gaels 6-0 and edged the St. Thomas More Knights 2-1 in the preliminary playoff rounds.

Tonnos, in comparison, had a record of 2-2-2 before they got past the St. Mary Crusaders 1-0 in the quarter-finals and the Bishop Ryan Celtics 2-1 in the semifinals.

“We’re happy,” Barbati said. “We beat the first-place team, Bishop Ryan, which was kind of our little championship.

Bishop Ryan looked like the team that was going to cruise to the final. They’ve got a few high-level players that can dominate the entire game.”

Other members of Newman’s championship squad are Laura Battaglia, Evi Cusimano, Meagan Farkas, Jessica Johnstone, Taylor Major, Alesandra Mariella, Giulia Moretuzzo, Alexandra Noce, Tessa Ogilvie, Claudia DeRosa, Cara Persia, Rena Savidis, Joanna Sebben, Elsa Ventura, Julia Paolini, Christina Palermo, Genevive Barnet and Jasmine Arruda.