Holy Cross : 2014
NLSA Challenge Cup Champions
Gold, Silver, or Bronze
For the past five decades the NLSA has given a team the prestigious honor of being named the "Team of the Decade". The teams that have won that distinction over the years are clubs which have generally dominated at the provincial level and have been legitimate medal contenders at the national level. The Laurentians first won the "Team of the Decade" in the 1970's. During that particular period, they won two national silver medals. Holy Cross, who were "Team of the Decade" in the 1980's, won both a "Gold" and a silver medal at the nationals. The Laurentians were again named " Team of the Decade" in both the 1990's and for the first 10 years of the 2000's. During this time they found themselves on the podium three more times,winning a national silver and two national bronze medals.
Holy Cross Today
This brings us to the current edition of the Holy Cross/Kirby Team. This club is definitely on pace to be a serious contender in winning the next NLSA "Team of the Decade" honor. They have won the NLSA Provincial Challenge Cup five out of the past six seasons. They know how to win and they know the hurt of a loss. The loss they suffered to the Feildias in 2013, in a semi- final match, may be just what this team needed. As most clubs do when they excel, they get over-confident, they get a little to cocky for their own good. The 2013 loss may have brought the team back to reality. Holy Cross came back in 2014 under the guidance of Jake Stanford, much more focused, determined and disciplined. Yes, the Laurentians did challenge Holy Cross this season and they played Cross with heart . But in the end Holy Cross answered the bell when it mattered the most, by winning the Challenge Cup in a pretty convincingly style with a 2-0 score.
National Championship - Vaughan, Ontario
Next comes the real big challenge, the National Sr. Men's Challenge Cup, and it will take place in Vaughan, Ontario from October 8-13. The Sr. Men's Championship is now played with four divisions of three clubs with the top two teams advancing to a quarter final play-offs. Holy Cross are by no means in an easy division. They are grouped with Saskatchewan and Quebec. Saskatchewan at one point were mediocre at the National level but for the past five or six years they basically have a stacked team and it will be no different this year. Quebec are always competitive and are generally medal contenders. Where does this put Holy Cross? Holy Cross will be no push over. They have the experience and are going to Ontario for all the right reasons, to win. Holy Cross's rookie goalie Thomas Pieroway, who was named "Rookie of the Year", brings stability to this key position on any soccer team. Chris Pope, who is the leagues most underrated fullback, along with Andre Le and Jeff Slaney are very solid. Coach Staford will have to determine who his fourth back is from Brian Reddy, Alec Pretty and his son Andrew. Holy Cross will more than hold their own with any club in the country in midfield,with all-stars Matt Breen, Mike Brushett, Zack Wade , Jon Hawco and Scot Woodfine .Add to the mix here is their former captain Ryan Yetman and big Mike Dunn, both of whom bring strength and a physical element to the game. Up front the team has the leagues MVP, Jake Warren and the best striking playmaker in the game today, Steve Delong who also can put the ball in the net.
Ready for the Big Show !There is no doubt in my mind this club got what it takes and are ready for the big show. However, victory and winning doesn't come easy. Getting to the National Challenge Cup isn't easy and it should never be taken for granted. One must realize that each time you get there it could be your last.
Despite all of this, I feel the time has come that Holy Cross will again stand on the podium and another medal will be added to the Holy Cross showcase.
Good luck guys !
Senior Men's and Women's ScheduleGame 1 - Men.-Wednesday, Oct 8 : Holy Cross vs Sask at 5:30 pm
Game 2. - Men - Thursday, Oct 9 : Holy Cross vs QC at 5:30 pm
Game 3. - Women - Thursday, Oct 9 : Kirby United vs Ontario # 1 at 8:00 pm
Game 4. - Women - Friday, Oct 10 : Kirby United vs Alberta at 5:30 pm
Note : Men : Off Day
Game 5. - Women - Saturday, Oct 11 : Kirby United vs Ontario # 2 at 5:30 pm
Note : Men's Game TBD