The Marymount Regals were very well prepared for NOSSA soccer this year.
Playing in a Sudbury Premier division that featured a great deal of competitive parity, the Regals found themselves battling tooth and nail almost every single game. Earning a first-round playoff bye with a second-place finish, Marymount saw their city title hopes extinguished after a tough 1-0 loss to the Lockerby Vikings.
Thankfully, the journey paid off on Friday as the Regals manhandled the Chippewa Raiders in the NOSSA A final, receiving goals from six different players in an 8-0 win. Courtney Smith and Mia Tullio scored two goals apiece for the winners, with Sara Falvo, Emily Taylor, Allison Byrnes and Chantae Robinson adding one goal apiece.
Megan Smith recorded the shutout as Marymount makes a return visit to OFSAA after edging Chippewa 2-1 in the 2013 NOSSA gold-medal encounter.
"Our team has a lot of potential this year," said Smith, one of the veterans on a team that fields a strong balance of talent throughout the various age brackets.
"We had a lot of Grade 9s coming in that are really, really good."
But coming up shy in the post-season locally left the team at least somewhat apprehensive entering Friday's encounter with the North Bay representatives.
"We were really nervous, because we thought it was going to be like last year," said Smith.
More than any other single factor, effective ball distribution, especially on the attack, provided a key for the Regals, who will be short a couple of bodies to track and field when they travel to Windsor late this week for the all-Ontario playdowns.
"During the season, the same people would score, but today, everyone scored," said Smith. "It was awesome to see. Everyone needs their time to shine."
The contest set the tone for a Sudbury girls double-header sweep as the Collège Notre-Dame Alouettes also took home a NOSSA banner, capturing the AAA crown with a 3-0 win over the Widdifield Wildcats.
Courtney Sauvé scored twice for CND, with Brianne Rodrigue adding the other and Josée Scott ensuring the clean slate back between the posts. Unfortunately, between seniors missing for prom next week, players already committed to their competitive soccer team, and various other reasons, the Alouettes would not be able to field a team of more than 11 or 12 players, at most, heading to Thunder Bay for OFSAA.
As such, they have opted to pass on making the 12-hour trek north. Still, it was a nice way to finish for a group that returned a healthy core from last spring.
"I feel that we are likely not quite as strong as last year, but as a team, we worked better together," said Vanessa Fleury.
Playing much of the season either as forward or midfielder, Fleury was pressed into service as a defender on Friday, with injuries mounting on the Alouettes' back line. All things considered, she was happy with her play.
"It's hard, because you have to make sure not to move up too high, or else you have to catch up and sprint back to help out your other defence," said Fleury. "And I played left, but I'm usually on the right. You have to kind of work your way around the ball."
Ironically, the only SDSSAA girls team that was not able to pick up a NOSSA title was the Sudbury city champs as the Lockerby Vikings dropped a 2-0 decision to the St. Mary's Knights in the semifinals of the AA competition in Sault Ste. Marie, playing in easily the toughest grouping of the three.