Glengarry DHS junior boys score EOSSAA soccer championship
BY SEAN BRAY Sports Editor As the saying goes, defence wins championships, and that strategy seemed to be key last week for the Glengarry District High School junior boys soccer team at ‘A’ EOSSAA, in Williamstown, where the Gaels notched a trio of 1-0 victories en route to capturing the title.
The other finalist – and eventual silver medallist – took a decidedly different path to the last match of the day, as St. Joseph’s of Renfrew outscored roundrobin opponents 8 to 2.
Prior to the championship game, the coach of the Jaguars stressed that the strength of this team was offence, but this was kept in check for much of the match.
Gaels goalkeeper Logan Keurentjes made several stellar stops, but also was lucky at times, especially in the late going, when the Renfrew team threw caution to the wind, pushing for the equalizer.
With Glengarry back on its heels, the Jaguars fired a shot off the goalpost out of some scrambly play, then forced Keurentjes to make a kick save. That was soon followed up by a shot off the crossbar.
Despite the late pressure, the Gaels held, securing the EOSSAA championship, and the celebration was on.
Glengarry scored the only goal of the match just a minute into second half of play, as Ethan Attridge fed the ball to Seamus Hardy 28 yards out, and he made no mistake, booting a quick shot over the head of the Jaguars keeper.
Earlier in the day, Glengarry edged the Notre Dame CHS Celtic Warriors, on a goal from Crew Rickerd, assisted by Nick Heinzle.
The second round-robin contest saw the Gaels get past the ESC Embrun Cyclones on a penalty kick from Hardy.
GDHS was also the SD&G champion, entering this tournament as the top seed.
Char-Lan DHS, the host, failed to score in games against Rideau DHS (2-0) and St. Joseph’s (3-0).
Senior boys division
The SD&G champion Glengarry DHS Gaels senior boys soccer team reached the EOSSAA final, only to run up against a wall that was the Mackenzie Community School Mustangs, from Deep River.
The ’Stangs, defending titlists, got an early lead off a Glengarry own goal, adding a fluky one late in the opening half to go up 2-0.
The Gaels had one dangerous chance before the interval, moments before Mackenzie bagged its second, as a tip went just wide of the post.
Frustration was clearly evident at the Gaels bench during the break, and when play resumed, the boys hit the pitch with renewed vigour.
The GD boys stepped up their attack, only to hit the crossbar, and then fired a shot over the net entirely.
Meanwhile, the Mustangs collapsed back to defend, providing a nearly impenetrable barrier.
With 10 minutes remaining, a Gael was hauled down in the Mackenzie goal box. The referee pointed to the spot, and Cameron MacDonald buried the ensuing penalty kick, to get Glengarry on the scoresheet.
In the waning moments, Gaels goalie David MacMaster moved upfield to support the offence. When the ball came to him at the top of the box, he fired a quick strike on net, only to have the ’Stangs keeper stop the ball on the goal line.
As play continued, Mackenzie sealed the victory with a goal into the unattended net, sending the Gaels home empty handed.
In reflecting on the match, Gaels cocoach David Filion explained, “It takes time to break down an opponent,” pointing to his team’s tentative first-half play.
He added that it was unfortunate that the boys were unable to capitalize on opportunities, though they did adjust their play for the second half.
For his part, Glen Campbell, another of the five-year coaching triumvirate, “It was a tough way to end such a great season.” The team’s third coach is Laurent Rivard. The Gaels swept SD&G league play, allowing just one goal along the way.
Of the May 29 EOSSAA tourney, Campbell adds, “The boys played well all day and just couldn’t capitalize on our chances.”
Round-robin action saw the Gaels top their pool based on the first tie-breaker of goal differential.
The boys tied their opening match 1-1 with St. Michael CHS ( Kemptville), rebounding from an early deficit. Lochlan MacDonald had the Glengarry goal.
Game two versus St. John CHS (Perth) went into the books as a 2-0 victory, on a pair of tallies from Bailey Pidgeon.
MacMaster, one of the graduates on the team, admits that he was hoping this season would last a little longer, and the Gaels would advance to OFSAA.
Of his teammates, he says, “I love every single guy on the pitch and wouldn’t trade a single one of them for anyone else. Had a good run, but all good things come to an end, I guess.”
Another returning senior, Matthew Houlzet, exclaims, “Totally heartbreaking, considering this was the best team I've ever been a part of. As a whole, we all were aware that we had a shot to make it to the provincial championships, this year, and set the bar high for ourselves.
“I really liked our entire build-up to make this great squad, starting months ago. Pre-season and throughout the regular season, I enjoyed our mentality of doing our best to focus on our process and not the outcomes, despite winning all games relatively easily and only conceding one goal.
“That set us up for a good chance at EOSSAA, needing to beat out two really strong teams in our pool, and then ultimately giving it our all in the final.”
The student-athlete, who will be moving on to college in Peterborough this fall, adds, “On a personal level, it was hard to take off my number 10 Gaels jersey for the last time. Obviously, it's only high school soccer, and it inevitably ends, but it still feel it was pre-mature. I'd love to see how the Gaels would match up against other top teams in the province, because I have 100 per cent faith that we have the best coaching staff.”
Houlzet believes the senior Gaels squad will look good next year too, considering that many of the EOSSAA-champion junior players will be seniors, joining several veterans back for a victory lap.
The other graduating senior players are Brennan Nadeau and Cameron MacDonald.
Coach Campbell describes the quartet as “great leaders and competitors.”
Le Relais girls go ‘AA’
Despite its small size, le Relais’ girls soccer team qualified to compete at ‘AA’ EOSSAA, in Kingston, on May 30, reaching the tournament’s final, before bowing out to Frontenac SS, 3-0.
Coach Dominic Decoeur stresses that the girls “left everything on the field,” but injuries from earlier in the day, along with some bad luck, proved to be challenges that les Rapides could not overcome.
However, he adds, “Losing in the ‘AA’ final is an accomplishment for a school of 180 students.”
Round-robin play kicked off with a 2-0 win over Carleton Place, as Sara Carrière and Danika Decoeur scored.
Game two was a 2-1 victory against Arnprior. Goal scorers were Carrière and Myriam Boisvenue.
Chloe Legault, one of the veterans of le Relais’ soccer program and a multisport athlete, says, sports “have taught me many things, such as being a positive leader, staying focused, accountability, and team work. I’ve had the opportunity to not only grow as an athlete, but as a student and person as well.
Concluding her four years at the school, Legault notes that soccer was her sport of choice, saying, “My team and I
accomplished so many objectives, and I couldn’t be prouder. Even though we didn’t come out with the result we wanted this year at EOSSAA, we had fun, and many of the girls got the chance to live a great experience. “
Angelina Gendreau, who’ll be attending Chicago’s DePaul University on a soccer scholarship, says her four years of the beautiful game at le Relais have yielded numerous friendships, while, under the tutelage of coaches Dominic Decoeur and Nancy Charbonneau, les Rapides claimed three straight EOSSAA titles and an OFSAA gold (in 2017).
“As it comes to an end, I can say that these memories will stay with me forever and throughout the rest of my soccer career.”
Danika Decoeur recalls many victories over her four years with the team, adding that the sport has also taught her life lessons.
In addition to soccer, Decoeur enjoyed playing hockey and volleyball for les Rapides, with sports being a big part of her time at the school.
She says should wouldn’t want to change anything about these sports memories and experiences and what she’s learned along the way.
In SD&G playoffs on May 23, all four soccer teams from Glengarry DHS reached their respective championship finals.
While the boys teams prevailed to advance to EOSSAA, the Gaels girls dropped tough decisions, in Cornwall, as we reported in last week’s edition of
The senior girls fell to the top ranked squad from la Citadelle, 2-0.
Head coach Kathleen Tonkin admits that it was a hard-fought contest.
“We played a strongly defensive contest for the first half,” until Les Patriotes scored on a long ball just before the break. In the second half, the Gaels adopted a more offensive posture, with Tonkin noting that the Gaels had opportunities but couldn’t score. La Citadelle salted it away late. “The GD team showed heart and teamwork throughout the season,” coach Tonkin stresses.
In particular, she highlights the play and leadership of Sara Hay, Sarah MacGillivray, Brooke Lapierre, and Candyce Gallant.
On the group as a whole, Tonkin adds, “I feel the strength of the team was the support [the players] showed each other and their willingness to work together.”
Junior coach Kelsey MacDonald, on her group’s day at the SD&G playoff tournament, says, “To be the best, you have to beat the best,” pointing to a pair of losses that week to l’Heritage, including in the championship match.
“As close as the game was, [les Dragons] found a way to win,” with l’Heritage prevailing 1-0 over the Gaels.
REGIONAL CHAMPS: Members of the 2018 EOSSAA-winning junior boys soccer team from Glengarry DHS include, standing in back from left, Seamus Hardy, Nicholas Heinzle, Rocco Bhagwandin, Crew Rickerd, Ben Horton, Caleb Raymond, Andrew MacMaster, Addison...