Humber's Lindsay Smith battles for the ball with Niagara's Jackie Lawther.

Lady Hawks win second straight to start varsity soccer season

Pianta, Vanderschaaf pace Humber to 3-1 victory over Niagara

A pair of goals from Alexandra Kastanis and a goal and an assist from Corinna Vanderschaaf led the Humber Hawks to a 3-1 victory over the Niagara Knights in women’s varsity soccer action on Wednesday night.

The victory was Humber’s second in a row to start the 2014 season after defeating Fanshawe 1-0 in its first game last weekend.

This was the second straight loss to start the year for Niagara, which dropped its first game 1-0 to the Redeemer Royals.

Humber enjoyed the majority of possession in a cagey opening half, but was unable to break the deadlock until early in the second, when Pianta slotted home a goal from close range after a brilliant run and cross from Vanderschaaf.

Niagara tied the game just moments later, when a looping free kick from Rebecca Morrison near the right corner flag eluded keeper Stephanie Cimino.

However, it was Vanderschaaf who would once again be the catalyst of Humber’s attack, as the rain began to intensify and wreak havoc on the playing surface.

After receiving a through ball midway in the Knights’ half, the speedy winger poked the ball just beyond the outstretched hands of the Niagara keeper, before calmly tapping the ball into the back of the net, restoring the Hawks’ lead.

Pianta put the game out of reach a few minutes later, blasting home a free kick from the far-left corner.

Although it took Humber some time to get on the board, head coach Vince Pileggi was confident in his side’s ability to break down the Niagara defence.

“We find that her tenacity [Vanderschaaf] puts a lot of pressure on the opposing team, so that’s certainly a part of our game plan.”

—Vince Pileggi

“I felt we had the better of it in the first half,” said Pileggi. “The game is 90 minutes, we just have to make sure that when we get our chances, we take them.”

Pileggi credited Vanderschaaf’s work-rate and ability as a key factor in turning the game in Humber’s favour in the second half.

“She’s got incredible work ethic and incredible speed,” Pileggi said. “She was fantastic today in attacking Niagara down the right flank.

“We find that her tenacity puts a lot of pressure on the opposing team, so that’s certainly a part of our game plan.”

Coach Mauro Ongaro gives a pre-game speech to the Humber Hawks before their 3-1 victory over the Niagara Knights.
Coach Mauro Ongaro gives a pre-game speech to the Humber Hawks before their 3-1 victory over the Niagara Knights. ( Robert Cerjanec/Toronto Observer)

Although happy with the victory, Pileggi knows that his squad must continue to improve as the season progresses.

“It always feels good to start the season with two straight wins,” said Pileggi. “We weren’t at our best today for large stretches … maybe the weather played a bit of a part in that, but our experience and persistence eventually paid off.

“We have a very talented team, it’s just a matter of finding that consistency.

Next up for the lady Hawks is a clash with the Redeemer Royals on Sept. 17.