Both of St Charles soccer entries playing for gold on Tuesday
by Randy Pascal
If they keep this up, the St Charles College husband and wife soccer coaching tandem of Erik and Kristy Hebert will soon have folks
at the school forgetting about the recently retired duo of John Sikora and Lloyd Rebeiro.
With the legacy of the latter two well entrenched in the Cardinals' soccer program thanks to decades of success on the pitch, Sikora and Rebeiro now find
themselves enjoying more soccer than ever as they make their way globe-trotting from one continent to the next.
In the meantime, things are just fine on the home front, at least partly due to the work of the Hebert clan.
St Charles will be represented in both of the SDSSAA soccer city finals come Tuesday, after pulling out victories by the identical score of 3-2 in both
of the first two semi-finals yesterday. The young ladies representing SCC needed overtime to dispose of the Confederation Chargers 3-2, with Emma
Dionne netting all three tallies for the Cards.
While the energetic senior provided the spark on offense, it was defensive stalwart Lexie McNamara holding down the fort on the back line, a shift
from her traditional club soccer post. “I'm usually a defender, on the wing, but I play centerback with this team,” said McNamara. “I try and help them
(other St Charles defenders) as much as I can when I'm on the field. I try and keep possession of the ball and then send it.”
Madison Laberge and Kaitlyn Walker answered for Confederation, as the teams closed off eighty minutes of action, deadlocked at 2-2, with a
little confusion ensuing in the second of the two ten minute overtime sessions, as Dionne completed her hat trick.
“It was really stressful,” McNamara admitted. “I thought it was sudden death, but it wasn't. Everyone rushed together when Emma scored, everyone thought
it was over. There was about five minutes left.” The Cardinals would withstand one final push from the Chargers, a scene that would play itself out again
at the tail-end of the St Charles boys' victory over the St Benedict Bears.
Matt Belanger, Aidan Martel and Arnaud Nhsimyurwa all found the back of the net for the winners, with Giovanni Mastroianni enjoying
a two-goal performance in a losing cause for the Bears. The victory moves St Charles one step closer to their ultimate goal.
“Our aim this year is to get to OFSAA, to do whatever it takes to get to OFSAA,” noted midfielder Aristide Uwiduhaye. “Most of the guys, it's our
last year at St Charles.” And while some are completing their fourth or fifth years at the Falconbridge Road facility, Uwiduhaye is just in his second,
having moved from his native land of Rwanda, to Canada, back in 2016.
“I got to St Charles two years ago, they already had a good team,” he suggested. “I was also not a bad player. I like the team, the way they play, the
spirit of the team, everyone is friendly. That makes me be more confident and happy to play for the team.”
Not that he wasn't already intimately familiar with the beautiful game. The playing conditions, however, were certainly different.
“I started to play soccer when I was four years old,” said Uwiduhaye. “Here, we've got more fields to play, more good fields to play. But also, the
weather is not as good here as in Rwanda. In Rwanda, it's always hot and sunny, so you can play every day. That's why we get good ball control. You can't
have as much ball control when you don't play as much as possible.”
Come Tuesday, the St Charles girls will meet a most unexpected fellow finalist. After not winning a game in the regular season, the Lasalle Lancers
extended their incredible post-season run, taking down the Lo-Ellen Park Knights, 2-1 on penalty kicks.
To boot, they did it with a keeper hobbling around noticeably on what amounted to just one good leg.
“I sprained my ankle at track and field yesterday,” explained Emma White. “I was jumping up and down, because I was excited, when I was warming
up, and I landed on it funny.” Thankfully, both White and her teammates made the necessary adjustments to compensate for a less than 100% last line of
“I had to start jumping off my left foot, and I'm right-footed, so it got really difficult,” said White. “But our team did a really good job on defense,
to be honest. We watched the crosses, we watched the corners, the posts. I couldn't be more proud of them.”
With Sydney Wachnuk (Lasalle) and Gia Grossi (Lo-Ellen) trading goals in regulation time, one would have thought a penalty kick scenario
would favour the Knights, with White nursing her injury. That theory was dispelled quickly when the Lancers' keeper dove cross crease on the first Knights'
attempt, making a gorgeous two-handed save near the far post.
“I waited until I saw the kick,” said White. “I thought I might be fast enough to get to it, and I did. She kind of looked at that corner, though, so
that kind of gave it away.” With Kiara Parry, Hay-Lee Lavigne and Katie MacGirr making good on their shots, and Lo-Ellen coming up empty on
three of four attempts, it would be White that was swamped, clearly unable to outrun the oncoming flood of ecstatic teammates that would mob her.
The final game of the day would see the Collège Notre-Dame Alouettes boys redeem themselves after a disapointing 2017 campaign, booking their
ticket in the final with a 3-1 win over the Sacré-Coeur Griffons. The Alouettes received goals from Julien Tubin, Alex Rossini and Sean
Roberts, with Mathieu Archambault converting on a penalty kick in a losing cause for Sacré-Coeur.