Newman & St. Mary Take Silver at OFSAA Soccer

Newman Boys and St. Mary Girls Excel, Take Silver at OFSAA Soccer
Posted on 06/10/2024

By Larry Moko

Both Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic Athletic Association teams that participated in OFSAA soccer championships last week came home with silver medals.

Playing in Windsor, the St. John Henry Newman boys finished as the runner up for the second consecutive year at the Ontario AAA high school level. The Cardinals went undefeated through six games before falling 2-1 to Mississauga’s St. Martin Mustangs in the final.

In St. Thomas, the St. Mary girls also were undefeated in six starts – one tie, five wins – before losing the AA gold-medal game, 3-1, to the Holy Trinity Tigers of Bradford.

The Tigers also took top honours two years ago at AA girls’ OFSAA when they hosted the event. St. Mary was one of the entries in 2022, failing to advance to the quarter-finals.

 “Our goal this season was to medal at OFSAA,” St. Mary coach Lora te Boekhorst said. “I’m so proud of these girls and thrilled by their effort. They were outstanding. It’s a very tough tournament to win, having to play seven games in just three days. We have a strong team.”

The last time St. Mary won an OFSAA gold medal in girls’ soccer was 2006. It capped a six-year period in which the Crusaders won four medals at provincials.

Both te Boekhorst and Cardinals coach Gerry Moretuzzo had previously captured OFSAA gold as players at St. Mary and Newman, respectively.

“It’s a heartbreaker to lose by a goal in the final two years in a row,” Moretuzzo said. “I’m extremely proud of the team, but it stings.”

Newman featured a leadership core of seven fifth-year players.

“It was a great three-year run with this group,” he said. “They’ve meshed really well.”

Newman fell behind 2-0 in the first five minutes of the championship game but a goal by Kenan Hodzic cut that margin in half just before the break.

“We were pretty confident at the half, feeling like we had started to play our game,” the Newman coach said. “Our guys really pushed. We actually played really well in the second half. Massimo Cuda’s shot with five minutes left hit the crossbar and came right down on the goal line. And Michael Ciarmoli, who had a great tournament with five goals, had a couple of big chances at the end.”

The Cardinals didn’t allow a goal in their four pool-play contests at the 20-team competition and continued their defensive lockdown with a 1-0 quarter-final victory over the defending champion Mother Teresa Spartans of London.

In the semifinal round, Newman needed overtime to edge the East York Goliaths, 3-2, on goal by Hodzic from Juan Franco-Trujillo’s cross.

The Cardinals rosters for OFSAA was comprised of Ethan Crossan, Lucas DiMarco, Mateo Soares, Miles Phillips, Stefan Trkulja, Cuda, Hodzic, Cristiano Kremenjas, Logan Ras, Macauley Wellstead, Ciarmoli, Adams Yusuph, Miguel Monzon, Franco-Trujillo, Sebastian Ochoa-Aispuro, Nowah Annandsingh, Tatend Maningi, Anthony Villella and Nick Hrvatin.

Newman – the school was formerly known as Cardinal Newman -- was vying for its fifth OFSAA gold medal. And for coach Moretuzzo, the silver was his second to go along with a bronze and an antique bronze.

The Cardinals pool-play victories came against Thunder Bay St. Ignatius, Kingston Secondary School, Sacred Heart of York Region and Toronto’s St. Basil the Great.

Second-place finishers in their pool, St. Mary began its playoff action with a 2-0 decision over Whitby’s Anderson Raiders.  That contest went into overtime and Caitlyn Gratton scored both goals.

In the semifinal round, St. Mary replied with a pair of second-half goals to defeat the Lord Dorchester Beavers, 2-1.

“In the championship game we started pretty flat, going down two quick goals,” te Boekhorst said. “We were pretty tired. We just kind of ran out of steam.”

The Crusaders coach said several of the players went back and forth to Hamilton during the tournament due to grad and prom ceremonies.

Caitlyn Gratton led St. Mary in scoring, including the team’s only marker against Holy Trinity.

Members of the St. Mary team included Emily Schneider, Alex Danieli, Daniela Lopez, Bailey Fresco, Nikki Duffy, Caitlyn Gratton, Naia Campano, Abby Girard, Logan Muldoon, Noelle Bowdidge, Jess Lavender, Cara Cheeseman, Madison Gratton, Hailey Sembay, Alexis Edgar, Kassandra Aidonis, Kate Sousa and Ella Morgan.

St. Mary’s 1-1 draw was against Bishop Macdonell Celtics of Guelph.  “We tied it up with one minute left,” coach te Boekhorst said. “It was an awesome pass from Caitlyn Gratton to her sister, Madison, who netted the goal.”

Other pool play victories by St. Mary were 3-0 over the Louis-Riel Rebels of Ottawa, 3-0 over the Saint Paul Patriots of Niagara Falls and 3-0 over the Oliver Mowat Mustangs of Toronto.