Leaside’s impressive season stops short

HANDS UP: Martingrove’s Christine Jurychuk stops Thalia Petsis’ shot.

Young team ousted 2-0 in AAA OFSAA qualifier

Under a hot sun at Cherry Beach, Leaside failed to unsheathe their steely resolve shown leading up to the OFSAA AAA girls soccer qualifier May 24.

Eliminated 2-0 by a hungry Martingrove Bears squad, Leaside’s co-coaches Chris Ujimoto and Patty Bontis lauded their crew for an unexpectedly pleasant year.

“We had a great season and weren’t expected to go this far considering it was a young group,” Bontis said.

Only having two grade 12s on roster, striker Stephanie Petsis and winger Eva Mastoras, the rest of Leaside’s South Region team will be a firm fixture for next season.

“Normally to go to the next level you should have more experienced players,” Ujimoto said. “This was a good building block.

“They know they can make it this far, so next year we expect better things.”

Performing well for Leaside in noon-hour heat were its future: Stephanie Petsis’ younger sister Thalia and defender Christine Phillips.

Strong play by the duo kept Martingrove off the scoresheet and Leaside’s spirits high going into the second.

However, constant pressure from the Bears after 20 minutes of play in the second led to a goal as Jovana Momic scored via teammate Kaitlen Burek’s pass.

When down 1-0, Phillips took charge, trying to lead her fellow Lancers through Martingrove’s tightened-up defence.

“My adrenaline was pushing,” Phillips said. “My teammates were slowing down and we had our heads down.”

Her efforts were in vain: the Bears added another marker by Burek to go up two.

Martingrove’s insurance impaled the Lancers’ morale, and with several offsides calls working against them in the dying of the game, frustration bubbled to the surface.

“I think we were a little too anxious shooting from afar when we had time to hold it, you know make a better shot but we tried,” Bontis said. “I think we were a little too anxious.”

She credited a very experienced Martingrove goalie for addling the Lancers’ offensive prowess.

“We had a lot of shots but they were too far away and this goalie was great,” she said. “The shots had to be precise.

“We had our chances too but the difference was we didn’t finish,” Ujimoto added. “We had two opportunities, one on a breakaway, another one where we could have scored but we didn’t finish.

“When they came back and scored on their chances than that definitely took some wind out of our sails.”

After a hard fought season though, Phillips is happy to have made it so far, beating Humberside 2-0 in the South Region finals May 17.

“We did pretty good,” she said. “We kind of made it farther than I expected.”

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