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Walden Flyers settling into competitive soccer scene

The kids seem to be doing just fine, as a newcomer to SRCSL (Sudbury Regional Competitive Soccer League) play picked up a solid victory Monday evening. The Walden Italia Flyers U11 Mixed team, a squad comprised entirely of youngsters who played within the Walden Minor Soccer Association houseleague system one year ago, scored four unanswered second half goals in beating the Sudbury Canadians U11 Girls 5-1 at the Macdonald-Cartier soccer pitch.

The contest was played at a relatively even pace through the opening forty minutes, as both teams created scoring chances. With Walden already ahead 1-0 thanks to a goal from Dawson Nootchtai, the team narrowly missed increasing their lead to a pair of goals as Christopher Russell plays a lovely ball ahead for Andrew Elliott, who sails the shot just wide to the left.

With half time approaching, the Canadians draw even, awarded a penalty shot which Alexis Belanger buries with confidence and the teams retreat to the sidelines, deadlocked at one. But Walden would come out firing on all cylinders after the break as Riley Buchkowski misses an initial opportunity just a few minutes in but scores the game winner at the 50-minute mark, jumping all over a rebound in the box.

In the 49th minute, the Flyers' Jim Barrett is left unmarked near the top of the box and he increases the Walden lead to a pair of markers, finding the left hand corner. The Italia side doesn't let up, as Keagan McCoshen tips in a shot from Nootchtai destined for the empty net, with sweeper Brady Duffy rounding out the scoring after making the most of an offensive foray.

With an offensive cushion in place, the back line of the Flyers did a nice job of coverging quickly on Canadians' attackers Samantha Whitehead and Emma Dionne, keeping the goals against to just one. While the team may be new to the SRCSL, the head coach certainly is not. The Walden kids are benefitting from the guidance of experienced soccer coach Andre Guay, who suggests that this partnership formed largely due to "happen-stance".

"The people in Walden wanted to do some competitive work, and I went looking for players, so they found me and I found them." From the very beginning, the former WMSA players and organizers favoured a mixed squad, with five girls and ten boys blending together to form the Flyers roster. "It's a nice mix and it gives us a nice balance", says Guay.

Now with a handful of games under his belt, the Italia Flyers volunteer coach is clearly getting a feel for his team, recognizing their strengths and looking to address any shortfalls in their game. "They're passing better, but they need to be a little bit more aggressive on the ball. Their shooting and kicking has improved, and they are very enthusiastic", notes Guay.

He ultimately sees the end goal for this inaugural season as one which would develop the players individual talents while also providing them with a "big picture" concept of the game. In addition to league play, the Walden Italia Flyers are entered in the Panhellenic Tournament in late July and are also looking to pick up one more out of town event for August.

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