St Catherines Standard: Olympians Send Wolves to Sidelines
September 19, 2002
Olympians send Wolves to sidelines
Mississauga victory keeps St. Catharines out of playoffs
Alison Rogers, The Standard
The St. Catharines Roma Wolves may have had an outside shot at a playoff berth with a win over Mississauga Olympians Wednesday night.
The Olympians had their own designs on the post-season, however, and blasted the host Wolves 4-0 before the biggest crowd of the year in the Canadian Professional Soccer League matchup at Club Roma Park.
With the victory, the Olympians vaulted from fourth place, past the third-place Wolves (24 points) and second-place Hamilton Thunder (25 points) to sit just two points behind first-place Toronto Croatia in the Western Conference.
The Wolves, the defending CPSL champs, ended the season with six wins, seven losses and six draws, missing the playoffs for the first time since 1997.
Player-coach Lucio Ianiero said the St. Catharines squad never got any momentum going against Mississauga.
The Olympians, with five members of the Toronto Lynx of the North American A League in their lineup, got a hat trick by Hayden Fitzwilliams and a late goal by Damien Basak.
Fitzwilliams netted his first goal of the night just four minutes into the game when he beat Wolves' goalkeeper Andy Luchetta to the ball and drilled it into the mesh. Fitzwilliams also scored at the 23-minute mark and added a third goal at the start of the second half to snuff out any chance of a Roma comeback.
Carlo Arghittu, St. Catharines' 28-year-old striker, said despite the high turnover in players -- including five players who joined the Hamilton Thunder -- the Wolves should have made the playoffs.
"Every Wednesday night here, we prove we're a team to be reckoned with," said Arghittu.
"The difference tonight was that they had five or six players from the Toronto Lynx."
Ianiero said he thought the CPSL had tightened the rules about players from the A-League joining CPSL teams for late-season runs.
"I thought we put a stop to this," said Ianiero. "I feel bad for a lot of our veterans who got burned by this three years ago."
Still, Arghittu said the Wolves shouldn't have been in the position to be fighting for the final playoff berth in their season finale.
"Two games stand out in my mind," he said. "One was in Montreal where we allowed them to score in the 93rd minute -- in injury time -- to tie us.
"The other was here when we had a 4-1 lead against North York and ended up tying 4-4."
With each win counting for three points and ties counting for one, those games cost the Wolves four points. With four more points, St. Catharines would have been tied for the division lead despite Wednesday's loss.
Arghittu, who was tied for second in league scoring with 12 goals as of Wednesday, said he plans to work harder in the off-season to improve his scoring touch.
Ianiero, 35, battled injuries during the season, but said he'd like to return as coach next season.
The former national team member plans to play for the Wolves again.
"I didn't feel like I had a very good season," said the St. Catharines Collegiate teacher. "I don't think any of us had a great year.
"I don't want to go out on a note like that."
The Wolves were without goalkeeper Claudio Perri and Joe Carbonara for the game against Mississauga after both were ejected from Sunday's victory in Brampton.
Frank Zumpano also served a suspension after picking up a third yellow card.
"It's nothing new," shrugged Ianiero. "All season long we've had guys out with injuries or suspensions."
Luchetta, who plays for Welland in the Niagara District premier league, made his first start in goal for St. Catharines Wednesday.
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