Four-game win streak improves team’s first-place record to 7-1
St. Marys Juggernauts have continued their hot start to the season in the Western Ontario Soccer League with four wins and a loss over the past three weeks–leaving them alone in first place in the Second Division.
Juggernauts’ only blemish so far in 2018 is a 5-1 setback to the Carib Stars, from London.
St. Marys started strongly and nabbed the first goal of the match when Braiden Weston pounced on a loose ball in the 18-yard box and drove it past the goalie for the early lead.
The Stars responded with two goals of their own to take the lead before the half-time break, and netted three late goals in the second half to put the visitors away.
“Carib are a strong team and play well on their wide home field,” Juggernauts’ coach Wayne Murray noted. “We’ll give them a better game when they come to town in August.”
Feisty affair with Croatia
After their defeat to Carib, Juggernauts have reeled off a four-game win streak, a run that began with a 2-0 home-field victory against London Croatia June 8.
In a tightly-contested, and sometimes testy affair, the teams were deadlocked at the half, before striker Lucas Jeffrey broke through the Croatia defence and slipped the ball past the ‘keeper for a 1-0 lead.
Immediately after the goal, a small donnybrook erupted and when the dust settled, the Croatia goalie had earned himself a red card and was ejected from the game. After some back-and-forth action, Sam Triemstra put the game on ice as he cleaned up a rebound in the six-yard box late in the contest. Veteran ‘keeper Aaron Wybrow earned his league-leading third cleansheet in the victory.
Juggernauts then braved the heat for another pair of wins, this time on the road.
Striker Kyle Fennema opened his scoring account with a pair of goals in a 3-0 win in Chatham on Friday, June 15. The other tally went to Sam Triemstra.
Yet another defensive clinic was put on by the St. Marys back-line, anchored by Jake Dickey, Derek Van De Walle, Jake Triemstra, Dante Pieroni and Andy O’Connell.
Three more for Fennema
On Sunday, June 17 in London, Juggernauts showed domination yet again as they took down the White Eagles 4-1.
Fennema again displayed his scoring prowess as he bagged a hat trick to take over the division scoring lead with five goals. Logan Flannigan also connected for St. Marys.
On a rainy evening last Friday, Juggernauts extended their home winning streak to four games with a 2-1 victory over the visiting London Portuguese.
Lucas Jeffrey led off the scoring when he was sent in alone after a long kick from Wybrow and curled a nice shot into the top corner. Shortly thereafter, Dominic Pieroni was the beneficiary of a lucky bounce as his long shot was mishandled by the Portuguese goalkeeper and directed into his own net. The goal would stand up as the winner and gave the home side a 2-0 lead by the half-time break.
Portuguese were able to close to within one on a late penalty kick, but it wasn’t enough as Juggernauts held on to boost their record to 7-1. The win moved St. Marys into sole possession of top spot in the 10-team division, three points ahead of the Carib Stars (6-1) who lost 2-1 to Oakridge Sunday.
It’s the Juggernauts’ best start since their inaugural WOSL season in 2007.
Total team effort
Coach Murray says it’s been a total team effort this season.
“They’re playing together as a team,” he told the Independent recently. “They all like each other, and they play wherever you put them. They’re playing for each other and they compliment each other. Everybody is contributing.”
Murray coached all but three of the players in high school.
Upcoming: Juggernauts are back in league action tonight (Thursday, June 28) when they travel to Tillsonburg for an 8:30 p.m. kick-off. Their next home game is Friday, July 6 when they host third-place Chatham Storm on the DCVI pitch at 8 p.m.