After working hard during the summer of 2011 and earning the right to compete in Central Girls Soccer League (CGSL) Level 3 play this year, the Greater Sudbury Soccer Club Impact U-14 Girls are not prepared to give it up without a fight.
Needing to pick up some valuable points to avoid relegation, Sudbury played to a scoreless draw with Oshawa Turul on Saturday, defeating Whitby the next morning by a final score of 3-1.
Impact keeper Josée Scott registered the shutout against Oshawa, while call-up Chelsie Sargeant and veterans Karly Hellstrom and Sara Cholewinsky handled the offense in the much-needed win.
Back for his second year as head coach of the team, Jon Hussak acknowledged that a little more turnover in his lineup than first anticipated provided some challenges in the early going.
"It's been harder to deliver the system, more than anything, even though they do understand it," Hussak said. "You're putting five or six new players into the system. Everybody is finally understanding it. It was a slow start to the season, for sure."
The weekend results improved the Impact record to 2-4-3, good enough for nine points and sixth place in the eight-team loop, though the two teams behind them each have three games in hand.
"We struggled a lot in our first few games," Hussak said. "It was a disappointing tie yesterday, because I felt our team was stronger. It can be tough on the girls confidence, at times, but we knew this was a big weekend."
A midfielder through much of her time with the team, Emma McDougall helped out over the weekend, taking a spot on the back line.
"We always had to mark, because (Whitby) always kept someone out wide, coming back. You always had to make sure you knew they were there."
The local crew have been close, dropping three games by just a single goal and losing 3-1 to Whitby, on the road, in early June. McDougall noted some key areas of improvement in the two-game homestand last weekend.
"We worked together, we passed to get shots, we were more aggressive and we played better defensively," stated the Copper Cliff native on Sunday.
The Impact U-14 girls have five regular season games remaining, with a rescheduled match with the Oshawa Kicks not yet shown on the league website.
Like many of the Impact crew, the local ladies are at home this weekend for tournament play. "We're going to take the tournament to work on things, iron out a few more kinks, and then close out the rest of the season and stay in L-3," Hussak said.
Sudbury resumes league play Aug. 12 with their final road game, facing SC Toronto, before welcoming Ajax FC Red to the turf at James Jerome Sports Complex Aug. 18.
Posted by Laurel Myers