OFSAA Soccer - 2022 was not kind to the Sudbury contingent.
Of the four SDSSAA participants at the all-Ontario high-school playdowns, the Horizon Aigles (girls), St Charles College Cardinals (boys) and Collège Notre-Dame Alouettes (girls) could only muster a single victory between them facing formations unlike most of what they had previously seen this spring.
The SDSSAA shining light, if you will, falls upon the Confederation Chargers boys team, finishing second in their pool and taking their quarter-final game to penalty kicks before falling 1-0 (6-5) in a shootout that lasted no less than ten rounds.
The Val Caron lads dropped their opener 2-0 to the top-seeded
St Paul CSS Falcons from Trenton, but salvaged a point on day one with a 0-0 draw with E.S.C. Père-Philippe-Lmarche in Toronto, with Harrison Wilson earning the shutout in net.
Needing a win to advance on day two, Confederation tripled the Delhi D.S.S. Raiders 3-1 with Quentin Harris scoring twice and Max Aziz adding the other. In quarter-final action, the Chargers would go to the wire and then some, locked in a scoreless battle with the Cardinal Carter CSS Cougars from Leamington as Owen Taylor held the fort through to penalty kicks.
For the team that finished second to the Cards in league standings but fell to Lo-Ellen before capturing the NOSSA “A” banner, their performance in Jordan Station further cemented the belief that this squad is far more than just good athletes excelling in a secondary sport.
“That was kind of the theme going into the season, that we’re a bunch of hockey players with a couple of club soccer players,” noted head coach Brad Smith, who was joined on staff by assistant coach Julian Colilli and manager Giuliana Parisotto. “A lot of these players had soccer experience at houseleague level or in school soccer – and they are great athletes.”
“They were really well rounded and super fit," Smith added. "Our main challenge was skill development and positioning, which is the same for every high-school program.”
“We got a lot of games in early on, just to try and figure out positioning, where to put players where they will be their best, where it will be best for the group.”
"This is an extremely motivated group - they don't back down from anybody."
Rounding out the Confederation roster are Braydon Ethier-Perras, Curtis Cunningham, Nehemias Aguirre, Austin Rioux, Matt Bamberger, Cameron Allen, Troy Wilton, Barrett Slegers-O'Neil, Ryan Ward, Braeden Beggs, Ethan Selk, Kody Nowe, Landon Doyle, Carson Crane, Ian Rudd and Jonah Solomon.
After walking away with their first SDSSAA Premier Girls banner in school history but forced to play without all of their seniors due to a conflict with prom, the Horizon Aigles did manage to squeeze a 3-1 win over E.S. E.J. Lajeunesse Royales from Windsor around defeats at the hands of the Lord Dorchester SS Beavers (7-3 - from Dorchester), les Chevaliers de E.S. Père-René-de-Galinée (2-1 - Cambridge) and E.S.C. SAinte-Trinité from Oakville (4-0).
The Cards struggled to create offense in London, blanked by Holy Names Knights from Windsor (4-0), Stratford DSS Golden Bears (3-0) and the Holy Cross Crusaders from Kingston, tallying twice in game three but still coming up short in a 3-2 setback to the St Ignatius Falcons from Thunder Bay.
It was a similar story for the Collège Notre-Dame Alouettes, falling 1-0 to the Brooklin Bears, 4-0 to the Bishop Allen Academy Cardinals from Toronto and 2-0 to the Blessed Trinity Thunder from Grimsby.
The Als managed to find the back of the net against the Appleby College Blue Dogs, though a 2-1 loss would mean the end of the line for the NOSSA "AAA" champions.