St.Mary striker and hat-trick hero Bryan Kobelski attempted to keep the ball in play during Saturday's final versus Carlton Comprehensive. St. Mary won the game 3-0. Herald photo by Gary Pearson
Commendable in possession, St. Mary played an outstanding second half in the boys’ soccer final on Saturday, scoring three unanswered goals versus bitter rivals Carlton to win the tournament.
“They moved the ball well and I think they did peak today,” said Marauders coach Danny Earl after his team’s 3-0 triumph. “I feel like our depth is fairly good, there is quite a strong talent population in P.A. in general.
The initial 45 minutes was played close to the vest, with neither team able to break the scoreless deadlock. Carlton, unafraid to shoot from range, had a strong 10-minute spell in the early stages of the match.
St. Mary found their groove in the 27th minute with two glorious chances in as many minutes. Bryan Kobelski galloped down the wing with pace and was able to drive a lovely cross to the back post for Shai Bravo, whose subsequent cutback fell for an onrushing Heiller Artunduaga. Unfortunately for Artunduaga, his header fizzed right into the keeper’s mitts.
A minute later Kienan Holash’s shot from an acute angle tested the Crusaders keeper, who was at full stretch to turn the ball past the post for a corner.
Artunduaga added another moment of near brilliance, when he struck a dipping half volley in the 36th minute that didn’t descend quite quickly enough. A combative first half ended scoreless.
Marauders’ striker Bryan Kobelski, in the 53rd minute, scored one of his three goals on the day to put his team ahead. St. Mary knocked the ball around the pitch effectively in the second half, forcing their cross-city rivals to expend a lot of energy chasing. The eventual winners looked fresh, showing no ill effects from a hectic schedule, which saw both teams play three matches in a 24-hour span.
“We definitely spent a lot of time on conditioning and these players have played together a lot in club and in school,” said Earl. “A combination of fitness and familiarity paid off for us in the second half.”
The Marauders started carving out consecutive chances, one of which paid dividends in the 70th minute. From a corner, Kobelskis nodded home his second of the match, pouncing on a Crusaders’ defensive miscue.
“For ourselves, there was both good and bad this weekend,” said Crusaders head coach Mark Odnokon. “We came back against North Battleford and played hard against Walter Murray. I don’t think we are conditionally in shape right now. Our team game still has to improve.”
Kobelski darted through the Crusaders’ defence minutes later to score his hat-trick goal, applying the finishing touches to a marvelous attacking display.
Both teams have another month to prepare for provincials, the marquis event of the season which Carlton is hosting.