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Edmonton Sun: Spartans give 'em the boot


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The Archbishop O'Leary Spartans captured the Senior Girls Metro Premier soccer championship in dramatic fashion yesterday, coming from behind to beat the Archbishop Jordan Scots 3-2 in extra time on a goal by Jennifer Antunes.

The Scots, who were first going into the playoffs, and will return 16 players next season, maintained complete control of the game throughout the first half and jumped ahead 2-0 after goals by Jenna Jensen and Leah Stecyk. The second half at the Victoria Soccer Club was a much different story.


Midway through the half, Spartan Kristen Filice launched an innocent-looking shot at the ABJ net, but Scots keeper Jill Sakowsky misplayed the ball and let O'Leary back in the game.

The Spartans, who were third going into the playoffs, continued to press the Scots, and with just two minutes remaining, Nazare Braz capitalized on another Sakowsky error to tie it.

Neither team could score the winner before the end of regulation, so the game was to be decided in sudden death extra time.

Shortly into the second half of extra time, Spartan Antunes emerged from a scramble in front of the ABJ net and scorched a shot into the right corner to win the championship.

"When I saw the ball going in, my heart dropped and I was so overwhelmed," Antunes said. "It was just perfect. It means everything to me to win it for my team."

The Scots were noticeably crushed by the overtime loss.

"It's really devastating because we controlled most of the first half," ABJ coach Helena Gouviea said. "When we had the two-goal lead we started playing more defensive, and that's not our style."


Antunes's golden goal gave the Spartans their first senior girls metro premier title since 1998.

"This team's had so much heart all season," O'Leary coach Calinda Reschny said. "They put their tremendous passion and pride on the line in order to get the win."


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Another article on High School soccer in Edmonton


Colour them champs

Archbishop Jordan captures Metro Premier title despite wearing opponents' jerseys


The Archbishop Jordan Scots senior boys soccer players immediately ripped off their maroon jerseys and threw them in the air after the final whistle of the championship match versus Archbishop O'Leary.

Maroon? Aren't ABJ's colours usually yellow, white and black? Correct. The Scots were forced to wear their opponents' away jerseys in the final because both squads had white uniforms, but only the Spartans could wear them since they were the home team.


Despite not being able to wear their own colours, ABJ went on to capture the Metro Premier championship with a 3-0 shutout over the Spartans yesterday at the Victoria Soccer Club.

"I think maybe we should borrow (O'Leary's jerseys) next year. They seem to be good luck," Scots coach Adam White said, laughing.

The gold-medal victory marked the first senior boys championship in either division (City or Premier) since 1992 for the Scots, who went 7-1-0 in league play this season.

"Since we won the gold in Premier, too, it feels extra special," White said of the historic victory. "All year long these guys have found a way to win."

Even though they were shut out, the Spartans controlled most of the game in the first half and generated more scoring chances than their Sherwood Park opponents. Luckily for the Scots, Grade 11 keeper Brian Ziegler was flawless, often sacrificing his body to make diving saves.

"A couple shots almost fooled me, but we were able to pounce on them and get them out," Ziegler said. "I knew coming into the season that we could win it all."

Neither team found the back of the net by halftime, but ABJ exploded for three goals in the second. Chris Hatala chipped a shot over Spartans keeper Adam Smith to put the Scots on the board, and Emi Wekwert notched ABJ's second and third goals within five minutes of each other.

"(O'Leary) just gave me the balls and I was able to take advantage with quick finishing," said Wekwert, a Grade 10 player who moved here from Argentina with his family when he was three.


The Spartans were confident heading into the final after going undefeated (6-0-3) during the regular season, but ABJ simply outplayed them.

"They scored the goals when they had to and they beat us in the one-on-one battles," said Ross Ongaro, O'Leary coach and former Canadian national team member.

The Scots will no doubt have a strong chance of defending their Premier championship next season, since they will lose only two players from this year's squad.

"I would love to repeat and I think we'll have a pretty good chance if we continue to work hard," White said.


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