Sudbury competitive soccer teams have grown accustomed to losing the occasional top-end talent to the draw of the southern Ontario leagues.
It must be said that it's kind of nice when the flip-side of that coin works out.
Coming off one year of NCAA competition with Faulkner University in Alabama, Algonquin College striker Kandyce Whitehead from Newmarket followed her heart this summer. With some family connections in Sudbury, the natural goal scorer decided to spend a few months in Northern Ontario with her boyfriend, all while keeping her soccer game in shape for the fall.
Whitehead netted back-to-back hat tricks on the weekend as the Greater Sudbury Soccer Club Impact U21 Girls swept a two-game set from Mississauga PCC, beating the visitors 5-0 and 6-1.
Ironically, Whitehead had no trouble hooking up with Impact coach Dayna Corelli, as the two had talked about Whitehead possibly attending Cambrian, instead of Algonquin, when she made the decision to move back to Canada.
With the Impact U21 ladies already representing a mix of players coming from a couple of different teams, it only stands to reason that it might take a little time to get to where they want to be.
"I think the first weekend that we had games was a little bit tough adjusting, because you practise a lot and stuff, but playing in games is completely different," admitted Whitehead.
"I think we got it together this weekend and played more as a team."
Adding some additional punch up front to a lineup that already features the likes of Courtney Ceccarelli and Riley McEwen, Whitehead brings the mindset and poise that can prove invaluable in tight games.
"There will be times in a game where you get frustrated, but you have to learn to keep your cool," she explained. "At that last second, just before you shoot the ball, you have to relax, or you'll hoof it over."
The Sudbury squad, apparently, was quite relaxed against Mississauga, as Ceccarelli and McEwen both joined Whitehead on the scoresheet on Saturday, in support of the shutout netminding of Megan Coutu.
The visitors showed much more spirit on Sunday, opening the scoring in the 31st minute on a rebound goal by Brianna Dickenson. Whitehead pulled the Impact even just five minutes later, giving her team the lead just before half.
The final 45 minutes were all Sudbury as Whitehead completed her hat trick, with McEwen, Ceccarelli and Dana Isaih adding one goal apiece. The wins improve the Impact record to 3-1-0 as the team prepares to host the Woodbridge Strikers (2-2) in a pair of games this weekend.
In an effort to continue to grow the scope of competitive soccer in Sudbury, a pair of GSSC teams are playing out of the Huronia District Soccer League (HDSL) this summer, with the U15 Impact girls kicking off their schedule this past weekend on the road.
There was seemingly very little initiation required for coach Vince Muscolino and company as Sudbury opened league play with a 3-1 win over the Huntsville Strikers, with Brooke-Lynne Chamberland (2) and Danica Small handling the scoring for the winners.
The Impact picked up their second win of the day, later in the afternoon, adding a 4-0 HDSL Cup whitewash over Huntsville as Chamberland, Deanna Krueger, Kiara Parry and Emily Taylor all found the back of the net. Megan Smith posted the shutout in net for the GSSC representatives.
It was a little tougher go on Sunday as Smith stood tall for the locals, despite back-to-back 1-0 losses to both the North Bay U14 Selects and Orillia, as the effects of a busy 24-hour stretch appeared to kick in.
The team will get the chance to host their first two league games on Saturday, July 5, as both North Bay and Huntsville are in town to face the Impact at the Lasalle Secondary field.
The 2014 GSSC Impact U15 girls team includes Megan Smith, Brooke-Lynn Chamberland, Laura Fratin, Cassie Gingras, Deanna Krueger, Allison McLean, Victoria Muscolino, Kiara Parry, Cassandra Pike, Laura Ross, Jamila Sargeant, Danica Small, Emily Taylor, Abby Carter, Brooklynn Roy, Innes Bagaoui-Fradette, Caresse Couture and Kendra Roy.
For the second consecutive weekend, the GSSC Impact U13 girls racked up a one-sided victory, outscoring Whitby B 7-1 as Aleisha Spourdalakis and Arianne Saumure scored three goals each in the win.
Madison Laberge rounded out the scoring for Sudbury, with Mercedes Gouveia countering with the only goal in a losing cause. The youngest of the local girls rep teams evened their record at 2-2, moving to fourth place in the nine-team CSL Level 4 Premier loop.
The team kicks off a four-game road swing this coming weekend, facing Islington (0-3) and Etobicoke (2-1-1), with the latter contest shaping up to be a good one. The team is not back at home until they play a rare Monday evening encounter, facing North Toronto on July 21.
As for the youngest of the boys teams, maintaining realistic goals are key. Facing Rexdale on Sunday, a team that won their first three games by a combined score of 23-0, coach Tony Tagliafierro and company knew they were in tough.
And while the visitors enjoyed a comfortable advantage in terms of the overall play, the fact is the Impact U13 boys were simply one lucky bounce away from pulling out a huge point, dropping a 1-0 decision to the league leaders.
Keeper Aidan Clarini was kept busy throughout, and was particularly adept at smothering low shots as the Rexdale attackers seemed to favour skidding shots along the grass at the James Jerome Sports Complex, with Clarini frequently dropping to his knees to limit any second-chance opportunities.
Dane Smith netted the game's only goal, driving a header down between the legs of Clarini on a lovely cross from the right flank. The contest marked three straight halves of tough soccer exhibited by the Sudbury crew, who fell behind 4-0 in the opening 45 minutes to the York Jets on Saturday before playing to a stalemate in the second half.
Goals from Nathaniel Alba-Golding, Alessandro Fabiano, Exosse Kadiebue and Marko Turic gave the Jets their early lead, as the Impact now looks to get into the win column on the road, facing the Darlington Wolves (2-0) on Saturday and tackling the Oshawa Kicks Crushers (0-3) on Sunday.
Finally, the GSSC Impact U15 boys dropped a tough 3-1 decision to the York Jets Saturday at the Delki Dozzi Sports Complex, with Sault Ste. Marie native Kristian Shuttleworth handling the scoring for the northern lads.
With three straight defeats to open their first season of CSL play, the Impact will look forward to what should be a pair of decent matchups on the road, meeting the winless Olympic Flame before taking a stop up against the North Toronto Nitros Green (3-1) on Sunday.