Holy Trinity Edges Out Newman in GHAC

Holy Trinity Edges Out Newman in GHAC Semifinal Showdown
Posted on 05/29/2024

By Larry Moko

Chalk it up as a successful return to high school coaching for Gerry Buordolone at St. John Henry Newman Catholic Secondary School.
The head coach who guided Newman’s senior girls’ soccer team to its first ever OFSAA gold medal in 2016, stepped away for several years before deciding to come back this season to join fellow coaches Frank DiGiovanni and Chris Bartolomeo.

Cardinals didn’t lose in nine starts en route to capturing the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic Athletic Association championship.
Buordolone admits, however, the campaign wasn’t a total success. That’s because the host Holy Trinity Titans of Oakville defeated Newman, 2-0, in a Golden Horseshoe Athletic Conference semifinal Monday.

At stake was an automatic AAA berth in the OFSAA tournament being held next week in Windsor.

“We liked our team coming in,” Buordolone said after the curtain came down on the season. “We did think we had a chance.”
Newman and Holy Trinity faced each other at a pre-season tournament in Oakville and the final score was 1-1. “So we knew this would be a tight game,” Buordolone said. “They have lots of good players, they move the ball well and they are undefeated, as well.

“It was fun to be back. We had a really successful season. We won our first championship in four or five years. The coaches are all happy.”
Newman took the league title with a 2-1 victory over the St. Thomas More Knights (4-1 in a shootout). Said Buordolone: “Regaining that trophy was a big accomplishment for our girls.”

Holy Trinity scored once in each half. Olivia Nelson got the opener – taking advantage of wind-blown roller -- and Petra Bandula connected on a brilliant individual effort seconds before the final whistle.

“It looked like a through ball and a couple of our players maybe thought the other player had it,” Buordolone said of the first goal. “I’m not sure whether there was some confusion there, but we missed it. Those things happen in a game.”

Titans coach Peter Bonfiglio said strong wind gusts affected the players.

“Windy days are not really the best for soccer,” he said. “Unfortunately, today I thought the soccer was a little wasted because of the conditions. It was tough for both teams. I guess we just handled it a bit better. Not by much. It was tight.”

Bonfiglio says Bandula, a Grade 10 student, has a lot of skill. “She’s a dynamo. Let me tell you she’s something special.”

According to the Holy Trinity coach, his team and Newman have developed a rivalry.

“I’ve known their coaches for years,” Bonfiglio said, “and they always put together a great program. We have great battles.”
Holy Trinity last participated in OFSAA two years ago – bowing out in the quarter-final round.

Newman’s roster this season was comprised of Simona Mammoliti, Julia Bengert, Allysia Iaquinto, Elena Klemencic, Jessica Ras, Sofia Mammoliti, Ella Ielasi, Ella Maiorano, Sofia Piccoli, Kathryn Dzioba, Fiona Thompson, Mia Persia, Alexa Zenchuk, Paris Gullone, Alex Kuzmenko, Isabella Cicchi, Marissa Folino, Ava Cipriani, Makayla Uhm, Alexia Filice, Mica Mauro and Samantha Toffolon.

“The strength of our team was depth and unity,” Buordolone said. “At different points of the season we had lots of players injured. We used our whole bench and they all contributed.”

Elsewhere, the St. Mary Crusaders qualified for the OFSAA girls’ soccer AA tournament in St. Thomas with a 5-2 GHAC semifinal victory over the visitors from King’s Christian Collegiate.

Caitlyn Gratton scored all five goals for the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic league representatives.

“The entire team played outstanding today,” Crusaders coach Lora te Boekhorst said.  “Our attack started from our solid defensive play which was able to shut down the King’s Christian speedy attack.

“Our midfielders dominated the centre of the pitch putting pressure on the ball and winning all of the 50/50 balls. Our forwards took on defenders and were able to capitalize and put the ball in the back of the net.”

St. Mary was 4-2-1 – third place in the league – before bowing out with a 2-1 semifinal loss against Newman.

 “I am thrilled and beyond proud of my team for all their efforts throughout the entire season,” Boekhorst said. “OFSAA has always been our No. 1 goal. We are a dynamic team and we’re all excited for OFSAA.”

Photos by Richard Andoga

More photos on the HWCDSB Athletics Facebook page here