Despite close calls, Leaside and East York girls soccer teams play to scoreless draw
East-end rivalries were on display as Leaside Lancers and East York Athenas waged a cold war in varsity girls soccer.
Temperatures hovered above freezing and the wind played subterfuge for both teams April 20, as they concluded their bout with a scoreless draw.
Joking that his crew needs to play in Florida, Leaside coach Chris Ujimoto admitted it was a good outcome considering the weather.
“Back and forth, both teams played really well despite the cold and the tie was the perfect ending to that game,” he said, walking into a biting wind.
Still, there was an unspoken casualty on the field.
“We’re not communicating as a team yet,” Ujimoto said. “It’s still early in the season but hopefully the girls can get it together soon because this year, only the top four teams make it to the playoffs.”
For brief moments, however, the Lancers offence showed signs of their South Region title form. Julia Babic shot the ball off the crossbar via Nicole Slattery’s cross in the first half while in the second, Cyan Jean-Baptiste’s corner kick connected with Slattery’s head, but went off the crossbar again.
That second play was just too close for defender Lee Ranells.
“Oh my god, I was so sad,” she said. “That would have been so good if it had gone in.”
Still, Ranells agreed with her coach on the lack of communication, adding it takes a little time to readjust after playing indoor soccer during the winter.
“I thought it was a pretty good game but we definitely have to work on some stuff,” she said. “We really thought we would’ve done better, just getting used to outdoor again.”
Four more games are left on the schedule for the Lancers, and concern for the playoffs is surfacing after a 2–1 loss to College Français on April 18.
“Last year we barely beat them in the playoffs,” Ujimoto said. “They always play tough and this year they have a core group of four or five players that are very good.”
Only the top four teams from Tier 1 will make the playoffs this year, resulting in no extra field time for four others. At present, Lawrence Park and Malvern have risen to the top two positions.
East York on the other hand was ecstatic with the scoreless tie. Coach Kathy Smith said it was two years in the making as the Lancers have taken the last two matches.
On her team’s side during play: the wind.
“Leaside is a very skilled team so the wind helped us a little,” she said. “I knew they were going to be a tough team to beat.”
Mother Nature aside, an Athenas trinity helped keep the game close. Grade 9 netminder Konstantina Kiriazis, sweeper Effie Takas and stopper Anastasia Grekos all contributed.
Next on the Athenas schedule was Northern SS on April 27, while Leaside will see a rematch of the South Region final against Humberside Huskies.