[attach]5147[/attach]In celebration of winning the South Region senior boys soccer title, midfielder Jorgo Nika took off his jersey to a white tee with the words, “OFSAA Bound” written on it.
He smiled, only admitting to being ecstatic with their 2-0 win over defending champs Lawrence Park CI at Cherry Beach, Nov. 3.
“I think we dominated most of the game,” he said. “We could have put away more chances but we’re good with what happened.
“A clean sheet is what we wanted and we got that.”
The Goliaths did not allow a single goal through the regional title pursuit, thanks to the hard work of keeper Peter Katsaras.
On the other end, the Panthers’ coach Errol Platt praised his goalie Kai Melamed-Turkish saying he had one of his best games of the year.
“You never like wearing second place, but I am proud of how I played today,” Melamed-Turkish said. “I always wanted to win first place and want the best for the team.
“Today just wasn’t our day,” he said. “East York outplayed us today.”
His assignment started in the first five minutes of the match, when East York’s Xhavit Coushi collected the ball in the penalty zone and booted it in the top right corner of the net.
It was that goal that sapped the Panthers even after striker Mitchell Chippen’s header went off the post.
“That first three minutes, give me that three minutes back and it’s 0-0 towards the end,” Platt said. “When you’re down one late in the game, everything happens.”
In the second half, the dying moments of the game when the Panthers pushed an extra midfielder in the attack, dropping their defence to three, East York’s Jack Atkinson added another marker from Coushi.
Still, it was the technician behind the scenes that helped set up both goals, coach Rob Wheeler said.
“Harry (Michelis), in the middle,” he said. “You don’t hear a lot about him but he’s probably one of our most solid guys.
“He’s probably played every minute of every game — maybe a couple of times he’s come off.”
With the regional championships wrapping up, both teams are not going to rest on their laurels as the city championships return in the spring. Both squads will be training indoors.
In the frost of winter, the teams will keep limber. Lawrence Park doesn’t it see it any other way.
“Hopefully that will get us prepared for the spring,” Melamed-Turkish said. “Our goal is to win in the spring and win at OFSAA.”
And unity will be the focus for East York.
“Indoor, we’re going to become closer, know each other a lot better, work off of each other and possession,” Nika said. “Possession is key.”