Goalkeeper Ayla Bates Shines

Goalkeeper Ayla Bates Shines as STM Secures Draw Against Newman
Posted on 04/26/2024

By Larry Moko

Goalkeeper Ayla Bates came to the rescue of the three-time defending champion St. Thomas More Knights Thursday.
She stopped 11 shots in the second half as the visitors from More held on for a 1-1 tie against the St. John Henry Newman Cardinals in Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic girls’ high school soccer action.

The Cardinals, who trailed 1-0 at the break, held a wide territorial edge in the final 40 minutes, seldom allowing the Knights to cross mid field.

“We told the girls at the half that good things happen when you crash the net,” Newman coach Chris Bartolomeo said. “That paid off for us.”

In the 55th minute, the Cardinals struck for the equalizer when midfielder Sofia Mammoliti’s hard shot from distance squirted out of Bates’ grasp. Mia Persia then raced in to tap the rebound into the net.

One last impressive save by Bates off a dangerous shot came at the final whistle.

“We did pretty well in controlling that game,” the Newman coach said. “We had a lot of shots. It was a good performance.”

More scored in the seventh minute when a crossing pass by Grade 9 student Adrianna Paraskakis was deflected in for an own goal.

The Knights moved the ball more effectively in the opening half, however, and hit the crossbar with a shot on one occasion.

Said Bartolomeo: “We came out more organized and with more intensity in the second half.”

Both teams began play with a 2-0 record. They also faced each other in the league final last season – won 2-1 by the Knights.

Bartolomeo downplayed the importance of the early-season meeting with the Knights.

“We know how momentum can be and how it carries on,” he said. “It’s about finishing more than it is about starting. Obviously, we want to be in the championship game.

“Last year we finished first but lost in the championship. We want to continue to get better.”

The Cardinals feature a lot of returning players in their lineup. “We lose 12 next year of the 20 we have,” Bartolomeo said.

More coach Giovanni Carboni said Newman was the better team on the day but his squad wasn’t at full strength.

“We were missing seven starters today,” Carboni said. “We had five or six girls injured. They’ll be coming back, but right now they’re not playing.

“I wanted to win the game,” Carboni said, “but it became very difficult to do. I’m satisfied. It was all we could do with what we had.”

One of More’s league victories was 2-1 over the St. Mary Crusaders, winners of the recent McMaster University Invitational.

The Cardinals finished second at that McMaster tournament.

In other senior girls’ soccer games Thursday, the Cathedral Gaels defeated the St. Jean de Brébeuf Braves, 2-0, St. Mary blanked the ACMT Jaguars, 10-0, and the Bishop Tonnos Titans edged the Bishop Ryan Celtics, 1-0.

More, Newman and Tonnos share first place in the standings with seven points.

Photos by Bob Butrym, RFB Sport Photography

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