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H-S soccer playoffs ahead - while others still rounding into form

The Premier Division playoff matchups are pretty much set while Second Division play is really just getting started. Such is life within the SDSSAA Soccer loop, as limited field times and an equally limited pool of game officials leaves little recourse but to schedule the groups over different brackets of time.

Senior Boys - Premier
While the St Charles College Cardinals enter post-season play undefeated, the favourites are clearly not invisible. The Cards captured their first two wins by a combined score of 7-0, but their final four victories have all been by just a goal or two.

The Confederation Chargers will join SCC in earning a first round bye, finishing second, just barely. Coach Brad Smith and company finished the season with a mark of 4-2-1, the same as the Lo-Ellen Park Knights, but earned the higher seeding thanks to a 3-2 triumph in the head to head battle.

All of which means that Lo-Ellen will face the Collège Notre-Dame Alouettes (2-3-2) in one semi-final on Tuesday while the Lasalle Lancers (3-3-1) and St Benedict Bears (3-3-0) battle in the other.

Open Girls - Premier
It's a somewhat similar story on the girls side of this equation, albeit with a few more unknowns in the mix. With their record of 5-0-0, the Horizon Aigles have clinched first place, though they still have to face the (2-2-1) Lo-Ellen Park Knights on Monday.

In fact, given that the second game that afternoon sees the Confederation Chargers (1-3-1) and Lockerby Vikings (0-5-0) going toe to toe, there still exists the possibility for a three way tie at 2-3-1, given that the Bishop Carter Gators are already completed regular season play with that mark.

The second and third place slots are already spoken for with the Collège Notre-Dame Alouettes earning a first round bye at 3-1-2 while the St Charles College Cardinals (3-2-1) will face the sixth place finisher, even if Lo-Ellen pulls off the upset, given the Cards 4-3 win over LOE back on May 9th.

Girls - Second Division
With nine teams competing this spring, no grouping will see more soccer being played than the Girls Second Division crew. That much competition allows for all sorts of possibilities for team construction, including a young Lively Hawks team that is comprised of nothing but girls in grades nine and ten.

Coach Kim Chezzi figured with the benefit of the extra years in the program, she would be more than open to welcoming aboard newcomers or relative newcomers to the sport - athletes such as Gracie Hallett, whose only soccer experience was limited to playing a little with her elementary school.

"I'm a good runner and so the coach really encouraged me to come out," said Hallett after the Hawks opened their season with a 2-1 win over the Espanola Spartans as Sarah Withers and Kaileigh Johnson found the back of the net for LDSS.

"She wanted to have some fast runners on the field - and I enjoy being active."

The appeal, for Chezzi as well as assistant coach Addison Elliott and keeper mentor Alec Carter is that you get to virtually start from scratch, creating an end product as you go along.

"I didn't know any of the positions, so whatever she told me to do, I would learn to do it, how to play it," said Hallett. As a defender, the 15 year old grade 10 student would be provided with a relatively straight forward playbook, at least to start the season.

"Always be first to the ball, no matter what," explained Hallett of her focus during the game. "We are trying to stay deep in and get on the ball first. If it gets past us, we have fast funners to get back in a hurry."

Regardless of the outcome, the Hawks are sticking together, their bond created by all being in somewhat of the same boat as they begin their most interesting soccer adventure.

"We got to the net, we got shots on net, we did a good job of getting it up the field," explained Hallett, asked about the best parts of the Lively game. "We were out of our zone for more than half the game."

"And our keeper (Jessie Doyle) is doing amazing," Hallett added. "She can boot the ball all the way down the field - and she just started as a goalie this year."

Joining the Hawks in the ranks of the Second Division unbeaten are the St Benedict Bears (2-0-0) and the Lasalle Lancers (1-0-0), while the Bishop Carter Gators (2-0-0) and Sacré-Coeur Griffons (1-0-0) boys can both lay claim to early season strong play as well.

Golf Sudbury