Monday October 15th, 2001.

Roma Run Wild
St. Catharines makes championship use of wild card entry. 
Bill Ault, Editor

St. Catharines Roma capped an unlikely run to the CPSL play-off championship this weekend with a Golden Goal 1-0 win in the final on Sunday against the Toronto Supra.

The John Sozio goal in the 116th minute of play ended a three games in three day quest for the hosts.

Roma only qualified for the tournament as hosts after seeing the Laval Dynamite put a late season charge that forced Roma into fifth place and a Friday night wild card game.

Laval took the lead after 18 minutes on a goal by Kyriakos Selaidopoulos, but St. Catharines' most prolific scorer all year, Frank Zumpano tied the game with his 15th of the season right on half-time. Gary McGutchan scored the winner 20 minutes into the second half and while Montreal pressed for an equalizer late in the second half they were reduced to 10 men when Arius Roldege was ejected from the game.

The Friday night win set up a  League Cup semi-final rematch between St. Catharines and Ottawa that had ended in controversy after Ottawa was given the win when Roma was deemed to have used ineligible players.

This time Roma got it right putting an end to Ottawa's hopes for a treble in their rookie season as Roma  took advantage of a defensive miscue by Ottawa in the 42 minute.  Midfielder Gary McGuchan intercepted a back pass intended for Ottawa goalkeeper Richard Goddard and made no mistake in finding the net. The lone goal held up, due mostly to top goalkeeping by Roma Wolves' Dino Perri who turned in a match winning shutout performance in the St. Catharines goal.

Saturday's other semi-final saw another upset as the third place Toronto Supra upended the favoured Toronto Olympians 3-2.

Olympians appeared well on thir way to victory in this semi-final when goals by Dennis Courtney, at 63 minutes and Elvis Thomas five minutes later, gave the defending CPSL champions a deserved 2-0 lead. But two goals by Supra in the second half, from Michael Di Luca (73 minutes) and the first of two by Samual Afriyie at 78 minutes, levelled the score and set the stage for the overtime.  Afrivie got his second just seven minutes into overtime with a golden (sudden death) strike.

Thomas was a last minute play-off signing along with defender Rick Titus of the Vancouver Whitecaps for the Olympians.  Unlike years past though the late season moves did not pay off for the Olympians although they did manage a 5-2 win over Ottawa in the consolation final.

Immediately following the final the CPSL announced their award winners for 2001.  Though Ottawa may have fallen short in their attempt at a treble their impact on the league in their first season was felt in the awards ceremony as they were presented with the Oz Optics (League) Cup, the League Champions Cup and Kevin Nelson captured both top goalscorer and Rookie of the Year honours and Abraham Osman was named league MVP.

CPSL 2001 Awards:

Best Referee
Amato DiLuca

Top Goalscorer
Kevin Nelson (Ottawa Wizards)

League Champions:
Ottawa Wizards

Coach of the Year:
Zoran Jankovic (Montreal Dynamites)

Fair Play Award
Durham Flames

Goaltender of the Year
George Azcurra (Tor Croatia)
Luciano Miranda (NY Astros)

Rookie of the Year
Kevin Nelson (Ottawa Wizards)

OZ Optics Cup
Ottawa Wizards.

Defender of the Year
Kurt Ramsey (NY Astros)

Most Valuable Player
Abraham Osman (Ottawa)

Rogers Cup MVPs
Supra goalie Garrett Caldwell
Roma Wolves defender Danny Gallagher

Roger Cup Winners
St Catharines Roma Wolves.


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