By Larry Moko
Three goals in the final by Ryan Raposo helped propel the St. Thomas More Knights to a Hamilton Spectator Cup boys’ high school soccer championship Tuesday.
Raposo accounted for all the scoring as More blanked the Sir John A. Macdonald Chiefs, 3-0, at Bishop Ryan Catholic Secondary School.
“We played well … better than we have all season,” said Raposo, who was a member of the 2016 More squad that captured a silver medal at the OFSAA Triple A championship. “I think this is the real start of our season today. It was amazing how we were moving the ball and connecting on passes. We didn’t get a goal scored on us the whole tournament.”
Earlier in the one-day competition, the Knights won three games – 4-0 over the St. Jean de Brebeuf Braves, 5-0 over the St. Mary Crusaders and 1-0 over the Glendale Bears. Macdonald gained its berth with a pair of 0-0 ties against the Waterdown Warriors and Cardinal Newman Cardinals plus a 1-0 victory over the Bishop Ryan Celtics.
Raposo scored a total of five goals during his three games at the Spec Cup. In the final, he redirected corner kicks from teammate Nick Proctor into the net (one on a header) to put More ahead by a pair at the half. Raposo then connected on a free kick from 21 yards out to complete the scoring.
“We had a lot of good team play today with great movement,” More coach Marinus Meulendyks said, “but those first two goals were well delivered by Nick and well finished by Ryan. The free kick showcased a little of what Ryan can do.”
Raposo also plays for the Vaughan U-21 team which recently returned from a tour of some United States cities. Its games were against university squads.
More, which went undefeated in league and playoff action en route to OFSAA last season, lost a HWCAA start against the Bishop Tonnos Titans last week. And that came on the heels of losing to Bishop Ryan at the indoor soccer final and coming up short at the McMaster tournament.
“We’re making more progression to the way we should be playing, which is a lot of possession and a lot of quick changes of the ball,” Meulendyks said. “We want to play an attractive style of soccer, but we also want to play as a team.”
Raposo said he is confident More’s solid core of returnees can challenge again for the league championship.
“The back line is solid and everyone is doing their job,” Raposo said. “Last year we had a different coach. She liked to play a 3-5-2. This year we’re playing a 4-2-3-1. It’s a dynamic formation.”
Meulendyks said other goal scorers for More during preliminary games were Nathan Palmer (3), Ryan Robinson, Proctor, Josh Okwulehie and Theo Corbeanu. Other members of the team include Mauricio Flores, Matthew McCarthy, Christian Starcevic, Simon Silverio, Chris Pineda, Julian Arcilo, Ryan Robinson, Gerry Kountouris, Justin Almonte, Thomas Cavarzan, Anthony Almonte, Dylan Alexander, Erik VanAken, Noah Robel, Tevin Mutuga, Dani Agresta and Andrea Mula.
Source: Marnie Jadon