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Photo by Gerry Graham

Photo by Gerry Graham

The Cardinal Newman senior girls soccer team has secured a berth in the OFSAA quarter-finals after a 2-1 win over Grand River.

Cardinals soar at OFSAA

Newman secures berth in OFSAA Girls’ Soccer quarter-finals

By Larry Moko, special to the News

She’s only 5-foot tall, but Victoria Garcia stands out as one of the Big three for Cardinal Newman’s powerful senior girls’ high school soccer team.

With Garcia solidifying the defence as a stopper and strikers Kristen Farkas and Andrea Petrina providing the bulk of the goal scoring, the Cardinal Newman Cardinals are 2-0 in pool play after the opening day of action at the 2014 Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations Quad A championship soccer tournament in Oakville.

The three-time defending Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic Athletic Association champion Cardinals blanked the Banting Memorial Marauders of Alliston, 4-0, and then scored a 2-1 victory over Kitchener’s Grand River Renegades.

The Cardinals are the No. 1 seed at the 16-team competition. They’ll wind up preliminary-round play Friday at 9 a.m. against the Glebe Collegiate Gryphons. And a tie or win against the Ottawa squad would automatically advance the Cardinals to a berth in Friday’s 3 p.m. quarter-finals.

Newman coach Gerry Buordolone says the trio of Garcia, Farkas and Petrina continues to shine.

Farkas connected for three goals in the two victories while Petrina netted a pair. The other Newman goal went to Erin Gonzales.

“You don’t see one player like that very often,” Buordolone said of Garcia-Farkas-Petrina, who are all in their final year at Newman, “but to get three of that calibre … we’re blessed.”

Petrina has accepted a soccer scholarship at Purdue University and Farkas will be playing for North Bay’s Nipissing University Lakers. As for Garcia, she’s still uncertain about what school to attend.

Said Buordolone: “Victoria is unselfish and a great team player. She’s been a captain for the last three years, a starter for five years. She’s tenacious. Very intense. She’s the heart of our defence back there. Any time there is a player on the other team that we need to take care of, we just let Vicky know and she makes sure there’s nothing available for that player.”

Garcia was born in Veracruz, Mexico. Then came a move to North Carolina for a couple of years before she arrived in Hamilton at the age of 5.

Last July, Garcia went for a tryout and was selected to Mexico’s national women’s Under-21 team.

“It’s difficult to explain,” she said. “I was there for a week. They told me I had made it and they would call me back to go and play for them. For sure I made it, but they haven’t called me back.”

Garcia, 18, has played at Newman for five years, developing into the heart and soul of the Cardinals defence. The veteran of club teams in Saltfleet and St. Catharines originally wasn’t going to return for high school soccer this year – instead, trying to raise her marks for university – but that changed after she sat out the indoor soccer season.

“I just couldn’t stay off the field,” Garcia said with a smile.

The loss of the Big 3 will undoubtedly make it more difficult for the Cardinals to repeat as HWCAA champions. But as Buordolone said: “We’ll worry about that next year. Right now we’re focused on winning this. You’re not going to replace players like that. We’ll just have to make do with what we’ve got.”

Grand River, which came into the game with a 12-0-1 record, got on the scoreboard with four minutes remaining on a goal Jaimie Noonan.

In OFSAA boys’ Quad A soccer, the HWCAA and Golden Horseshoe Athletic Conference champion Bishop Tonnos Titans played twice at the 16-team tournament in Windsor on Thursday. The Titans opened with a 2-0 loss to Windsor’s Holy Names Knights before bouncing back to tie the St. Edmund Campion Bears of Brampton, 1-1. Tonnos completes its pool play schedule on Friday against Ottawa St. Patrick’s.

The other OFSAA soccer qualifier from the HWCAA – the Bishop Ryan Celtics – travelled to Thunder Bay for the 20-team Triple A girls’ tournament. The Celtics defeated St. Thomas’s Parkside Stampeders, 1-0, on a goal by Allison Kielbasa and fell, 3-1, to Toronto’s Humberside Huskies.  The St. Ignatius Falcons (Thunder Bay) and the St. Michael Thunder (Bolton) are the two remaining pool contests for Bishop Ryan.

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