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Panhellenic pair open 2007 competitive season

A pair of Panhellenic soccer teams kicked off league play this past weekend, with both teams off to decent starts. Following is a quick update on both the Panhellenic United 1991 boys as well as the Panhellenic U-21 ladies team.

Panhellenic U-21 Ladies

Fielding a roster comprised of a mix of athletes from both the Sudbury Canadians USL program and the Panhellenic 1990 girls who were relegated from OYSL play last fall after surviving two previous years, head coach Jeff Falcioni is optimistic that his Panhellenic ladies will remain more than just competitive, battling in the OWSL (Ontario Women's Soccer League) Provincial U-21 Central Division.

Add in a handful of young athletes from the Canadians U-21 squad of one year ago and one can see that Falcioni's optimism is well founded. The local ladies kicked off the new year of competition playing to a 1-1 draw with the Darlington Force as Anjelica Mazzela scored for Sudbury.

The Panhellenic ladies recorded their first victory of the young season just 24 hours later as Renee Jacques and Stacy Watson found the back of the net and Taylar Dawe registered the shutout in a 2-0 win over the Vaughan Azzurri 88's.

Sudbury will face their first cross-divisional opponent this weekend, again on the road, as the team travels south to face the Mount Hamilton Avalanche on Saturday afternoon before returning to play their initial games at home on the weekend of June 16th and 17th at the Cambrian College field.

Panhellenic United

If the first step for the Panhellenic United 1991 boys soccer team was to achieve competitiveness within the ranks of the Central Soccer League (CSL), then step two of remaining competitive in their second year will prove doubly challenging. The local squad, under the guidance of head coach Clive Stephenson and assistant coach Dave Lepage managed an opening weekend split playing at Laurentian University.

The team kicked off their season with a 3-2 loss to the East York Vipers, a score which flattered the homeside somewhat. If not for the outstanding work of underage keeper Thomas Guscott, the Vipers margin of victory could easily have been greater.

Sudbury sniper Joey Martellacci netted both goals for Pan United, with the team missing a penalty kick while down 2-1 which may have provided some much-needed momentum for Stephenson and company. On Sunday, Sudbury looked to get into the win column facing the Scarborough Blizzard and both teams opened with a flurry trading goals in the first ten minutes of play.

Martellacci out-raced the Blizzard netminder to head in a long direct kick courtesy of Jordan Sovran to draw Sudbury even at one. With the game still tied in the second half, Dorian Manchulenko scored twice, with both goals again coming courtesy of well-played balls from a distance as Manchulenko twice took advantage of the ensuing scramble.

With Panhellenic holding a 3-1 lead over the final twenty minutes, Scarborough pressed relentlessly, with Sovran and fellow United defender Josh Haslam both enjoying strong defensive games and Guscott at his acrobatic best once again. The task of protecting the lead became even more perilous over the last fifteen minutes or so after Haslam was red carded following a confrontation with one of the Blizzard attackers.

Pan United will now compete in tournament play this coming weekend in Barrie before resuming league play on June 10th, facing the Barrie Spirit in their first home game of the year.

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