Despite a slow start, second place is still the goal for the GSSC (Greater Sudbury Soccer Club) Impact U21 Men this summer, and a recent home and home sweep of Barrie FC has helped make that aspiration much more achievable.
Hosting Barrie in Sudbury a few weeks back, the Impact recorded their first victory of the season, blanking the visitors 1-0 thanks to a goal from Cambrian recruit Isaac Oilveira and a shutout performance from Connor Vande Weghe.
Head coach Evan Phillips was also quite pleased with the play of both Brandon Moxam and Domynik Huot in a game which he felt his team should have won by two or three goals.
Turns out he was simply one game early. Travelling to Barrie this past weekend, the Impact exploded to the tune of a 7-0 triumph, with Kristian Shuttleworth and Phillippe Bassong both netting hat tricks for the winners.
Moxam rounded out the scoring for Sudbury, while Vande Weghe made it back to back clean slates at the far end of the pitch.
"We haven't had a game in two and a half, three weeks now, and the boys were kind of itching," said Phillips.
"When we beat Barrie in Sudbury, it shouldn't have been 7-0, but it should have been more than 1-0. Today, we got the bounces and we were more clinical."
With the victory, the Impact improves to 2-2-2, and now sits just one point back of FC Durham Academy (2-1-3) in third place, and two behind the Whitby Iroquois (3-2-1) in second.
With four games remaining in the double round robin schedule, all of which are at home, the Impact have targeted a finish that would leave them behind only the front-running Aurora FC crew (6-0-1) by the time the lads leave for their post-secondary destinations next month.
"We are playing better together as a unit, and eliminating the silly things that were costing us games early in the season," said Phillips.
"The first four games of the season, we gave up a goal in the first 15 minutes of every game. I think we haven't given up a goal, at all, in the last two and a half games."
Part of the bump has come from the much-needed depth to this roster, one which allows some relative newcomers to garner critical experience when pressed into action.
"The guys who have really stepped up have been Simon Brock and James Pinheiro, two of the younger guys on the defensive line," said Phillips.
"Because of injuries and moving guys around, they've played more these past few games and have gotten a little more confidence. They've done really well."
The locals are back in action this coming Saturday, welcoming Aurora to town Saturday at 3 p.m. at the Delki Dozzi Sports Complex.
The team will culminate their 2017 campaign with matches against Whitby (July 22), Durham (Aug. 12) and Masters FA (date TBA - record of 1-2-3).