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Panhellenic Seasons winding down
2008-08-18

In an effort to provide a more consistent approach to offering coverage for the wide variety of sports that are highlighted on SudburySports.com, we've decided to include a new feature. Weekly and bi-weekly divisional or league updates will offer a wide array of statistical tidbits, roster updates, tournament results for participating teams. The Panhellenic Soccer Club will be featured every Wednesday - next update is August 27th

Panhellenic United

For the second time in the past three years, Panhellenic United will get a chance to contest the Central Soccer League (CSL) Cup. In 2006, the local crew fell to Whitby in the U-15 boys Cup final. They will get a chance for redemption on September 14th after trimming the Oak Ridges Knights 3-2 in Cup semi-final action over the weekend.

Goals from Owen Montpellier, Joey Martellacci and Brian Hennessy, with the game-winner, provided United with the margin of victory as head coach Clive Stephenson commended the work of his defensive stalwarts in this game: Jordan Sovran, Travis Perrin, Kersey Kalubi, Zsolt Kocsis, Colin Loney and keeper Thomas Guscott.

Panhellenic will play the winner of the Scarborough Blizzard/Olympic Flame encounter on the road in mid-September after knocking off the second place team in league standings. The lads appeared to pay the price on Sunday, returning to league action but unable to hold on to an early lead. Pan United jumped out to a 3-0 lead roughly twenty minutes in but eventually lost 5-3 to the Glen Shields Sun Devils, falling to 2-6-2 in CSL U17 boys standings.

Martellacci netted the hat-trick in a losing cause, increasing his season total to 19 goals as Sudbury sits in 7th place in the eight team league, just one point back of the East York Vipers. The United crew will likely avoid relegation for a third consecutive season as East York has already completed their fourteen game regular season campaign while Panhellenic still has four encounters remaining.

All four games are at home, beginning next weekend when United face Oshawa Turul on Saturday and battle the last place Toronto Eagles in a crucial affair Sunday, with both games slated for Cambrian College. An already short bench became a bit more depleted over the weekend as Owen Montpellier turned his ankle and is expected to be out a couple of weeks.

Panhellenic U-21 Women

The 2008 soccer season is now in the books for coach Giuseppe Politi and the U-21 Panhellenic Women's soccer team. The early closing to the campaign allows many of the league's participants who also play at a post-secondary level in either Canada or the U.S. to make it out to pre-season training camps in a timely manner.

The last 4-6 weeks of the schedule provided plenty of excitement for the local crew who worked their way all the way through to the Ontario Cup final before losing in an overtime classic, 1-0 to the Richmond Hill Raiders, the consensus # 1 ranked U-21 ladies team in the province. The local ladies advanced to the finals after blanking the Toronto Eagles 1-0 on a goal from University of Ottawa midfielder Renee Jacques. Goaltender Taylar Dawe continued her comeback from a broken leg injury sustained last September, posting the shutout for Panhellenic.

In quarter-final action, Jenna Schroeder was sent free courtesy of a great through ball from Veronica Mazzella and keeper Stacey Carter held the fort between the posts as Sudbury trimmed Pickering 1-0. The team kept their momentum alive, pounding Pickering 5-0 in their league (OWSL) finale to nail down fourth place in league standings and a guaranteed return berth to the loop in 2009.

A very balanced Sudbury offense featured goals from Jenna Schroeder, Romina Cimino, Stacey Watson, Jessica O'Bumsawin and Danielle King, with Stacey Carter recording another whitewash. While the numbers were a little scarce at times for Politi and assistant coach Guillermo Estrada, the good news is that the team could potentially return their entire roster one year from now as none of the young ladies have reached the U-21 maximum age at this point.

Having worked with a good portion of this Panhellenic roster for three years of their involvement in the OYSL (Ontario Youth Soccer League), considered the top level of youth soccer in the province, I presented coach Politi with the following question:

Q:""Assuming you could have access to the bulk of young ladies capable of playing at this level in Sudbury, what is the upside for this group in terms of league and cup success? How realistic is it to think that Sudbury could boast the top U-21 ladies team in the province if the majority of local talent assembled?"

As always, his answer proves insightful: "Based on the assumption that I could have access to all the best players within this age group, the upside would be to achieve some remarkable results in the province - ones never achieved by Sudbury-based teams. To my knowledge, we would have been the first Ontario Cup champion on the women's side (lost on a golden goal in the 98th minute - heartbreaker). Notably, we were the first Indoor Ontario Cup Champions in 2006.

So that's a realistic goal for next year -- just based on how well we did this year. In terms of the league, I think moving up in the standings is certainly realistic and expected. This year, we were a bit inconsistent in league play, but also suffered through some injuries. Next year - assuming we have the majority returning, along with some good additions - a top 2 or 3 finish is in the cards, so to speak. That said, we also have to wait and see what competition is in the league next year.

As I mentioned before, the OWSL u21 is becoming more and more reputable, and as such, teams graduating from the OYSL now have a place to play. We'll have to wait and see. Very specific team goals / objectives will be re-evaluated some next spring - but based on how we ended off the last 2 weeks of the season -- the girls KNOW they can compete and achieve great things - in league, league cup, and ontario cup play."

Panhellenic Spitfire

With an automatic berth into the CSL (Central Soccer League) on the line, the Panhellenic Spitfire came ever so close to achieving their ultimate goal. The Spitfire competed this year in the North Regional Soccer League (NRSL), joining entries from Thunder Bay, New Liskeard and North Bay. The schedule provides for twelve games for each team, with each of the squads hosting a single weekend, three team double round robin schedule. In essence, each of the four teams receives one "bye" weekend.

Sudbury Panhellenic played host to the final slate of NRSL games these past two days, with both the Spitfire and Thunder Bay entering play on Saturday with identical records of 7 wins and a single loss. As expected, both teams disposed easily of North Bay, picking up two wins each to improve to 9-1 and bring it all down to the head to head matchup of the two front-runners.

Unfortunately for Panhellenic head coach Peter Zeman and company, the teams would split their two game set, each one winning by a final score of 3-2. This would necessitate the utilization of the second tie-breaker which came down to goal differential in the four games pitting Thunder Bay and Sudbury. Back on July 19th, Thunder Bay blanked Panhellenic 4-0 up in Northwestern Ontario before Sudbury rebounded the next day for a 2-1 win.

According to coach Zeman, this weekend's loss to Thunder Bay was a particular heart-breaker as the visitors scored in the final few minutes to secure the victory. A tie would have been sufficient to clinch top spot for the Sudbury side. Of course, this may all be something of a non-issue should the Thunder Bay Chill opt not to pursue a CSL berth giving the challenges of a demanding travel schedule. If that were the case, Zeman confirms that there might still be room for the locals to enter Central League play, given that they finished within six points of Thunder Bay in the final NRSL standings.

The full roster for the 2008 Panhellenic Spitfire crew can be found on an earlier article entitled simply "Panhellenic Soccer Update", although it should be noted that Peter Zeman is joined on the coaching staff by assistants Rob Gallo and Dan Palladino as well as manager Wayne Kosher.

Panhellenic Lightning

While we undoubtedly be provided more information over the next few days to be added into this slot, we can confirm that the Panhellenic Lightning U-15 girls managed to pick up Gold medals in their final tournament of the year, downing the Richmond Hill Raiders 1-0 in the Championship final to walk away with top honours at the Thornhill Challenge Cup this past weekend.

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