Strikers and Attack Finding Early Success on the Soccer Field
Several Chatham Strikers and Chatham Attack teams are sitting near the top of the Western Ontario Soccer League standings this season after strong starts to the year. On the weekend, the Chatham Attack U-16 Boys club was busy with two games, losing and tying, while the Chatham Strikers U-12 Girls went 2-0-1 in a tournament in St. Thomas.
The Chatham Attack U-16 Boys, hosted the Waterloo Warriors at Thames Campus and lost 3-0. Sunday, Chatham hosted the Guelph Royals and tied 2-2. Goal scorers were Brad Hockin, and Kyle Bakker who leads the Western Ontario Youth Soccer League U-16 L3 division with 7 goals.
The Chatham Attack U-16’s are now in second place in the overall WOYSL L3 division with a 4-1-2 record. Chatham’s next home game is Wednesday June 29th at 7pm at Thames Campus.
The Chatham Attack U16 team will also be competing in the North Olmsted Soccer Organization Cup this coming weekend (July 2-3) in North Olmsted, Ohio.
In St. Thomas, the U-12 Chatham Strikers were playing in their first tournament of the season. It was a very large and experienced field with 13 teams entered in their division. Their 1st game was against the Ilderton Ignite, who are in their L5 division in London.
Chatham didn’t waste anytime in getting started on their long quest for a medal. 12 minutes into the game, Chelsea Hartford opened the scoring for Chatham with a great shot from the top of the box. Only minutes later Hartford struck again as she lobbed a left footed kick over the Ilderton goalie’s head to give Chatham a 2 – 0 lead. In the 2nd half Chatham continued their dominance as Kristen Calabrese broke free up the wing and buried a low shot into the far corner of the net to give Chatham a 3 – 0 lead they would not relinquish. Ilderton was awarded a penalty shot late in the game, but shot it over the net to preserve the shared shut-out for Brooke Foster and Kaylee Boulley. The opening 3 – 0 victory would help set the tone for the rest of the day. Sydney Sabourin was the game star with some great open field hustle.
Chatham’s 2nd game of the day was against the Puslinch Predators from the Guelph area. Chatham came out strong in the 1st half and only minutes into the game they were up 1 – 0. Chatham’s quick attack resulted in a corner kick that Logan Kucera drilled into the 18 yd box. A Puslinch defender could not get out of the way and deflected the corner kick into her own net. Despite some more quality scoring chances, Chatham could not get that 2nd goal to pull away and let Puslinch hang around too long. Eventually in the 2nd half, Chatham could not clear a corner kick in their own end and the ball ended up on the foot of a Predator player at the top of the box and she placed a shot over the outstretched arms of Chatham goalie Kaylee Boulley to tie the game at 1. With the game ending in a tie, Chatham was denied a bye in the elimination round and would have to play a 3rd game on Saturday. Rhea VanHelden was the player of the game with her great effort in the defensive backfield.
Chatham was ranked 3rd in their 9 team bracket after 2 games and were up against the 8th placed Innisfil Stampeders from the Barrie region. Chatham was all over the Stampeders early but they just couldn’t get a lucky bounce to capitalize on their chances. A shot from Paulina Maslak hit the crossbar and post and somehow managed to stay out, but finally with 1 minute left in the 1st half, Allyson Huckle sent in one of her trademark high long crosses across the face of the Innisfil goal and Chelsea Hartford was on the receiving end to give Chatham the 1 – 0 lead it deserved. That was Hartford’s 3rd goal of the tourney. Chatham continued to take it to Innisfil in the 2nd half and this time it was a perfect corner kick from Allyson Huckle that landed right in the box and Ceara Travis got just enough of the cross to redirect it past the Stampeder goalie to finish up Chatham’s scoring for a 2 – 0 win and a place in the quarter finals on Sunday morning against Cambridge United. Paulina Maslak was the player of the game as she did everything but score a goal for Chatham.
Cambridge United would be a good test for the Strikers as they were undefeated on Saturday, and had allowed on 2 goals in 3 games. Chatham did not come out with as much intensity as they did on Saturday, likely due to some early game jitters. Chatham also were also missing 3 key contributors and 2 other players were not at 100% due to injuries sustained on Saturday. But like troopers, Chatham continued to battle and finished the 1st half tied at 0. Chatham began to pick up their play in the 2nd half and enjoyed 2 or 3 glorious chances right in front of the Cambridge goal that could have ended the game. However they could not get the bounce and break they needed and regulation time ended in a 0 – 0 tie. Kaylee Boulley had earned the shut-out after stopping many long high shots during the 1st half especially. The game would now have to be decided in dreaded Penalty shots. Chatham would lose 5-4 in penalties as it went to 8 shooters to decided the outcome. Boulley stopped 3 Cambridge penalties and Ceara Travis, Allyson Huckle, Brianna Dawson and Sydney Sabourin all converted their penalty attempts for Chatham. Chatham player of the game was Kaylee Boulley.
Although eliminated from the tournament, Chatham finished the tournament undefeated in regulation play, allowing only 1 goal in 4 games.