Team goal is to advance to First Division next season
TILLSONBURG – With St. Marys Juggernauts sitting at the top of the Second Division, the team was looking to put pressure on the other teams fighting for promotion with their latest pair of games, but had to settle for a split–bringing their WOSL record to eight wins and two losses.
Juggernauts recently travelled here looking to extend their winning streak and came away with a hard-earned 2-1 victory over Tillsonburg FC.
Ryan Fennema and Remco Scheele both fired their first goals of the season and the squad dominated from start to finish, with the only blemish being a flukey goal coming against the run of play. With two new scorers in Fennema and Scheele, the team has now had goals scored by nine different players this summer.
With a now five-game win streak on the line, Juggernauts welcomed Chatham Storm to the DCVI field last Friday night. The game featured two good young ball-handling teams.
St. Marys dominated the early stages of the match and had several good scoring chances, but came away empty-handed. Midway through the first half, Chatham caught the Juggernaut defenders off guard after a free kick and grabbed a 1-0 lead.
Having played from behind only once previously this season, Juggernauts were in unfamiliar territory and didn’t play with the same confidence and swagger that was evident in their earlier eight victories. With St. Marys pushed forward looking for an equalizer, the Storm countered twice against an exposed backline to take a three-goal cushion.
Just before the final whistle, Remco Scheele extended his scoring streak to two games and spoiled the Chatham keeper’s cleansheet to bring the final score to 3-1 in the Storm’s favour.
It was Juggernauts’ first loss at home this summer.
“We’ve had a solid season so far and we’re still in a really good position in the division despite this loss to Chatham,” coach Wayne Murray said. “We’ll work on some things during the Cup break and get back on track in the second half of the season.”
After 10 games played, Juggernauts sit in first place with 24 points — three points ahead of second-place Carib Stars (7-2), from London, who have a game in hand. Chatham (5-4-1), meanwhile, moved back into sole possession of third place on the 10-team ladder with last Friday’s road win.
Juggernauts will now take a two-week break from regular-season play to participate in the Second Division Cup, beginning with a quarter-final match-up against Tillsonburg this Sunday in Woodstock.
Team looking for promotion
Prior to their July 6 home game, members of the Juggernauts gave reasons why the team has been successful in 2018.
“The team is playing for each other,” coach Murray said. “All but three of them played for me in high school, so they know each other and back each other up. And the guys play wherever I ask them to play.
““I wasn’t sure we’d be doing this well, but I thought we’d be in the top three.”
Murray says the team goal is to get back to the WOSL’s First Division. The top two teams in Second Division will move up to the First Division next year.
“These guys would like to finish first now that we have a chance, and get the trophy for the Second Division,” the coach said. “There’s enough players here who want to move up. Most of them have been here for quite a while.
“And we have a young team; (goalkeeper) Aaron (Wybrow) is the oldest at 26 or 27. And I’ve got a couple of 19 year olds and guys in their early 20s.”
Commitment to improve
Skilled midfielder Dominic Pieroni says the Juggernauts have shown a commitment to improve and play together as a team.
“We’re a younger group of guys and we’ve bought into practising a little bit more as a squad and we’re all used to the level of play that’s expected,” Pieroni said. “We’re playing together and winning as a team.
“Most of us played together in high school and on this team for a few years now. That’s been a big help. And we’re looking ahead to the rest of the season.”
Solid defender Jake Dickey echoed many of the same sentiments as his teammate. He says the players look forward to coming to the games and practices.
“We’ve had a lot of good young guys join the team,” Dickey noted. “The Triemstra brothers came in and have added a little life to the team, and (forward) Logan Flannigan has been good.
“We’re all playing as a team and we’re all happy to be playing. We even come early (to the games),” he added with a laugh.
Dickey says the Juggernauts also move the ball well, and the team has given opponents trouble with their “good pace” and speed up front.
Looking ahead, coach Murray said road games against the Portuguese and Croatia will be tough league matches.