Members of Challenge Cup champion Holy Cross Kirby Group partied in head coach Jake Stanford’s backyard Monday, but the talk among the Holy Cross players was already about getting back on the field.
The Crusaders won their second straight provincial senior men’s soccer championship Sunday with a 3-1 win over Mount Pearl/That Pro Look/Molson at Centennial Field in St. Lawrence. But instead of reflecting on what happened a day before, they mostly were looking a month ahead to the national Challenge Cup tournament.
“The talk is all about when (they) start training again, which is pretty funny,” said Stanford.
“Most times, players are afraid to ask the coach about the next practice.”
Stanford will give his players a few days off before training begins for the national championship Oct. 6-11 in Prince Edward Island.
Commenting on his team’s back-to-back provincial titles, Stanford said, “It’s pretty obvious Holy Cross is back and we’re not going anywhere. We’ve got a young team, so the future looks good.”
Holy Cross went undefeated (one win, three ties) in preliminary-round play at last year’s weather-ravaged national tournament in Saskatoon and gave up only two goals in the process. Still, the Crusaders had to settle for sixth place after losing 6-5 in a penalty shootout to British Columbia.
This year, Stanford believes Holy Cross has a “pretty exciting” draw at the nationals, where it will be playing in a division with two teams from Prince Edward Island teams, another from Nova Scotia and a Quebec entry.
“We were so close in getting to the final last year that the boys are really motivated to win it all this year,” he said.
“We can’t wait to get going.”
Holy Cross 3, Mount Pearl 1
Stanford said his team controlled the entire final Sunday.
“They (Mount Pearl) weren’t even in the game to be honest,” he said.
“We dominated the whole game. They had a rough (Saturday semifinal) game against St. Lawrence and there’s no question that took something out of them. The boys were really quick and they couldn’t keep up with us. Hats off to them, though, they (Mount Pearl) battled back to score a goal, but they were really struggling against us.”
Mount Pearl had advanced to the final by beating the St. Lawrence Labatt Laurentians in the 2-1 Saturday in a game that was decided on penalty kicks after the teams went scoreless in regulation and then traded goals in overtime.
On Sunday, it didn’t help that Mount Pearl lost the services of league MVP and all-star goalkeeper Tyler Putt after Holy Cross had taken a 2-0 lead. Putt was replaced by Matthew Peddle.
Aaron Anstey scored four minutes into the game to give Holy Cross a lead they wouldn’t give up in the championship match.
Matthew Breen put Holy Cross up 2-0. Mount Pearl’s Ian MacLeod scored early in the second half to make the score 2-1, but Zach Wade got that one back a minute later.
Holy Cross earned its spot in the final by beating Mount Pearl 1-0 in the 1-vs-2 Page system game Friday night. That result sent Mount Pearl — with its double playoff life — into a semifinal against the Laurentians, who advanced with a 7-1 thrashing of Feildians Ernst & Young Orenda in Friday’s 3-vs-4 Page playoff game.
Stanford had special words of praise for veterans Jon Hawco, and rookie Matthew Breen for their work in the championship game.
Hawco, who scored the only goal in the Crusaders’ first game of the weekend, was named the playoff MVP.
“He was dangerous every time he touched the ball Friday and he was awesome in the championship game,” said Stanford.
“He’s back to his old form,” added Stanford about Hawco who is coming off early-season knee surgery.
“Matthew scored a beautiful goal; Zach scored a nice goal and Ryan Yetman was unbelievable. It was a total team effort, really.”
Saturday’s semifinal saw Richard Kelly open the scoring in overtime, but MacLeod tied the game 20 minutes later.
Jordan Caines scored twice for the Laurentians with singles coming from Clinton Edwards, Jonathon Grant, Paul Slaney, Marcus Turpin and Mike Howlett.
First place in regular season: Bobby Breen Memorial Trophy — Holy Cross Kirby Group
Rookie of the year: Ed Moyst Award — Scott Woodfine, Holy Cross Kirby Group
Top defender: Jeff Babstock Award — Jeremy Babstock, Holy Cross Kirby Group
Most sportsmanlike player: Jim Goff Award — Johnny Acreman : Feildian/Ernst & Young Orenda
Golden Boot (top scorer): Wils Molloy Award — Mike Howlett : St. Lawrence Labatt Laurentians
Coach of the year: Alphonse Warren Memorial Award — Jake Stanford: Holy Cross Kirby Group
MVP (regular season): Dick Power Memorial Award — Tyler Putt : Mount Pearl, That Pro Look-Molson
Gerard Quirke Memorial Award 2010: Challenge Cup MVP — Jon Hawco, Holy Cross
All- Star Team
Tyler Putt, Mount Pearl/That Pro Look/Molson
Shane Antle — Mount Pearl That Pro Look/Molson; Marc Pittman — St. Lawrence Labatt Laurentians; Jeremy Babstock — Holy Cross Kirby Group; John Acreman — Feildian/Ernst & Young Orenda
Zach Wade — Holy Cross Kirby Group; John Kelly — Mount Pearl That Pro Look/Molson; Rudy Norman — St. Lawrence Labatt Laurentians; Ryan Yetman — Holy Cross Kirby Group
Mike Howlett — St. Lawrence Labatt Laurentians; Scott Woodfine — Holy Cross Kirby Group