Patriots mine soccer gold
The Saint Paul Patriots brought home a medal from OFSAA for the second year in a row, but this time got the colour they really wanted.
The Patriots, who earned an antique bronze last year at the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations AA boys soccer championships, came home with a gold this time around after topping Louis Riel of Ottawa 1-0 in the gold medal game.
“It was a pretty amazing accomplishment,” Patriots coach Aldo Seca said.
Lucas Vetere netted the lone goal in the gold medal game.
“It was a pretty close game,” Seca said. “I would say we were the better team. They had probably one of the most spectacular goalies that I’ve ever seen that kept them in the game. He was a big boy and he stood on his head. Our defence played solid and pretty much shut everything down. It was a total team effort.”
Seca said it was gold or bust for the Patriots from Day 1 this season.
“Last year we lost in double overtime penalty kicks in the semifinals and had a good core of returning players,” Seca said. “At the beginning of the year the boys pretty much said they want gold and that was our goal at the beginning of the year.”
The Patriots had little margin for error, winning six straight games en route to the championship.
“It’s too much soccer,” Sec said. “Seven games in three days and the day of the quarter-finals, we played three games. Although the games are a little bit shorter, it’s the intensity of the games. That’s the challenge. The team that usually wins this is the team that is the deepest. It’s a survival of the fittest. It’s the team that can stay healthy the longest. We had some knocks but I give the boys credit. They battled hard and stuck with it. Nothing was going to stop them.”
Seca said it was a total team effort.
“We had 20 on the roster. Both goalies played and everybody saw some minutes on the field,” Seca said. “There’s no way in a competition like this you’re going to be able to run with only 11 guys the whole time. We utilized everybody to our fullest potential.”
The Pats opened with a win over Hunstville as Vetere had three goals while Mateo Gruosso had two goals and Cristiano Colamartini and Joseph Bernard one each. Bernard scored in a 1-0 win over Oscar Romeo before Vetere netted a goal in a 1-0 win over Courtice.
Saint Paul wrapped up the round-robin with a win over Erindale as Jared D’Addio, Bernard and Richard Twinkle scored.
The Pats advanced to the semifinals with a victory over Silverthorne as Twingle and Bernard scored before defeating Giselle Lalonde on goals by Vetere and Colamartini.
Members of the team are: Petar Andonov, Luke Berezowski, Bernard, Stefan Candeloro, Elijah Cardamone, Colamartini, D’Addio, Dante DeBenedetti, Nicholas DiSanto, Alesandro Elia, Christian Folino, Mateo Gruosso, Marco Gruosso, Jacob Jackson, Joshua Kim, Owain Mayer, Daniel Szufranowicz, Twinkle, Anthony Vescio Vetere and Andrew Villegas.
Seca and Julio Candeloro were the coaches.
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