The Lockerby Vikings senior boys soccer team are cutting things just a little too close these days for the liking of head coach Paul Hatzis.
For the second straight match, the Vikes needed some late-game heroics to pull out a win, this time blanking the St. Charles College Cardinals 1-0 at the James Jerome Sports Complex on Monday.
Josh Alvarenga had just blasted home a wicked drive from 25 yards out when referee Peter Trainor whistled three times, signalling the end of the encounter before the ball could even be returned to midfield.
"It was a huge win for us," said senior keeper Roberto Bagnato. "We were pressing all game. One is going to eventually go in."
Truth be told, the Lockerby lads were indeed deserving of victory.
Outnumbering the Cards substantially in quality chances, the Vikings were thwarted time and again, sometimes by the work of St. Charles goaltender Harry Smith, sometimes by unpolished finish.
The trend started early as a blast from Nathaniel Gryska from 35 yards out was deflected off the crossbar by Smith, with Nico Presot sailing a direct kick just above the bar from the 30 some eight minutes later.
Alvarenga's best chance, prior to netting the game-winning tally, came in the 28th minute when a shot along the turf, aimed just inside the right-hand post, was pushed aside nicely by a diving Smith.
The Cardinals' only real threat came midway through the second half when Michael Mooney broke free, drilling a shot into the midsection of Bagnato.
"You just have to keep yourself mentally in the game," said Bagnato of the challenge of dealing with infrequent action.
"You can hear me screaming all game, just helping my guys out," he continued. "We have a great defensive core that really keeps away the shots. This was a prime example, maybe one quality chance all game."
When Smith got up to tip away a sure goal in the 88th minute, again on a direct kick from Presot, the soccer gods appeared to be smiling on SCC, allowing the long-time powerhouse to escape with a point in their season opening game.
St Charles will look to rebound Thursday night, facing the Collège Notre-Dame Alouettes at 8:00 p.m., while the Vikings target a 3-0 start tomorrow at 5:00 p.m., battling the Confederation Chargers.
The Chargers remained unbeaten earlier in the day, chalking up a 2-1 win over the Bishop Carter Gators. Russell Wilson, with a header, and Scott Villeneuve scored for Confed, while keeper Aaron Campbell also drew praise from head coach Paul Korzeniecki.
In girls action, Confederation and Bishop Carter played to a scoreless draw in a tight, defensive battle, while the Macdonald-Cartier Panthères picked up an important point, playing the Lockerby girls to a 1-1 tie.
Lina Audet found the back of the net for ESMC, while Lisa Romanyszyn countered for the Vikings. And closing things out with the late game, the Marymount Regals earned a little revenge for their loss in the final of the Lady Gator Invitational on Saturday.
Facing the St Charles College Cardinals for the second time in three days, the Regals got a late goal from Courtney Smith and shutout netminding from Megan Smith (no relation), chalking up a 1-0 victory over the Cards.
Action resumes on Tuesday with five more games scheduled for James Jerome, starting at 12:30 p.m. with a boys-girls doubleheader between the Chelmsford Flyers and Sudbury Secondary School North Stars.