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U Sports – Defending champs York defeat rival Varsity Blues to earn spot in fifth-place Game
 

GUELPH, Ont. (U Sports) – The 2016 CIS Men’s Soccer Championships features an eight-team field which represent universities from all across Canada. On Friday however, in the first of two consolation semifinals, you didn’t exactly get a sense of that coast-to-coast feel.

Instead, a pair of programs who not only hail from the same conference, but who also from the same city, met up at on the national stage with a spot in the CIS fifth-place game on the line. In cold, windy conditions at Alumni Stadium in Guelph, the York University Lions won 4-1 over the University of Toronto Varsity Blues. With the result, York moves on to Saturday’s fifth-place game while the 2016 season officially comes to an end for the Varsity Blues.

Both the Lions and Varsity Blues fielded drastically different squads for their consolation semifinal game than they had in their respective quarterfinal matchups. Toronto made a total of six changes to their lineup while York had just four starters from Thursday’s match once again on the field for Friday’s game. One of the new additions to the lineup for York was second year forward Pierre Grenier (Paris, Fra.) who gave the Lions an early lead after being a beneficiary of a Toronto turnover. Lions midfielder Maurizio Ragone (North York, Ont.) picked the pocket of a Varsity Blues defender deep in the U of T end of the field and quickly set up Grenier for an easy, tap-in goal to give York a 1-0 lead in the 12th minute.

The Varsity Blues would answer back however, tying the game at 1-1 in the 31st minute off a set piece. Second year right back Kenny Lioutas curled in a long cross into the York 18-yard box, with rookie defender Nikola Stakic rising to head home U of T’s first goal of the 2016 CIS Championships. The score was tied. But not for long.

Just three minutes after Toronto’s equalizer, York would re-take the lead. A strike from outside the 18-yard box from Steve Kloutsouniotis (Markham, Ont.) would deflect off a Toronto defender, balloon up in the air and float over a helpless U of T keeper Mark Rogal and in. The goal from Kloutsouniotis gave the Lions a 2-1 lead heading into the half.

In the 78th minute, York would push their lead to 3-1 on a goal from forward Ryan Telfer (Mississauga, Ont.). After narrowly managing to stay onside, Telfer was sent in all alone and was able to beat Rogal in a one-on-one situation. Moments after conceding, the Varsity Blues nearly answered with one of their own at the other end, but a header from Russell Rodrigues (Scarborough, Ont.) rolled past the York keeper before hitting the post and staying out.

In the 90th minute, Ryan Telfer would put the game away with a beautiful strike. Working down the left side of the field, Telfer’s right-footed strike would curl into the top corner as Rogal could only watch hopelessly. Telfer’s second goal of the match gave York a 4-1 lead as they would go on to win by that final.

“It would’ve been nice to be able to score a couple yesterday against Alberta, but I’m at least happy to help give my team an opportunity to play in another game,” said Telfer post-match. “We knew how tough U of T can be defensively, but our guys all did exactly what coach asked of us.”

For Lions head coach Carmine Isacco, Friday’s match also served as an excellent opportunity for his younger players top gain some valuable experience.

“Ten of our 11 guys out there were in first or second year,” he said. “But they had really good energy and showed well today to make a case for a starting spot come next season.”

Varsity Blues head coach Anthony Capotosto also had some nice praise for his young players.

“Coming off that grueling quarterfinal game versus Cape Breton, today was obviously an opportunity for us to get some fresh bodies on the field,” said Capotosto. “When we reflect on this season, I think we’ll consider it a successful season. We earned the right to be here with the eight best teams in the country, but in the end, we just didn’t have quite enough to advance.”

The York Lions will now await the winner of the UBC/Acadia game to see who they will be facing in the fifth-place match, which is scheduled to kick off at 4 p.m. ET on Saturday, Nov. 12.

SCORING SUMMARY:
TOR: 1-0: 1
YORK: 2-2: 4

First Half
1. YORK Pierre Grenier (1), 11:09
2. TOR Nikola Stakic (1), 30:25
3. YORK Steve Kloutsouniotis (1), 33:30

Second Half
4. YORK Ryan Telfer (1), 77:42
5. YORK Ryan Telfer (2), 89:05

Goalkeepers:
YORK: Antonio Damiano (W 1 GA, 3 saves, 90:00, 1-0)
TOR: Mark Rogal (L 4 GA, 3 saves, 90:00, 0-2)

Team Stats
Shots: YORK 12, TOR 5
Shots on net: YORK 7, TOR 4
Corners: YORK 5, TOR 5
Offsides: YORK 1, TOR 3
Fouls: YORK 0, TOR 0
Yellow cards: YORK Adam Lofranco (85th), TOR Devon Bowyer (85th)
Red cards: None

Players of the game:
YORK:  #6 Ryan Telfer
TOR: #6 Lukas MacNaughton
 
Thursday, Nov. 10
11:00 Quarter-final 1: Alberta def. York 2-0
13:30 Quarter-final 2: Cape Breton def. Toronto 1-0-OT
16:00 Quarter-final 3: UQAM def. UBC 3-2-OT
19:00 Quarter-final 4: Guelph def. Acadia 2-2 (PK)

Friday, Nov. 11
11:00 Consolation 1: York def. Toronto 4-1
13:30 Consolation 2: UBC vs. Acadia (SportsCanada.TV)
 
Saturday, Nov. 12
11:00 Semifinal 1: Alberta vs. Cape Breton (SportsCanada.TV)
13:30 Semifinal 2: UQAM vs Guelph (SportsCanada.TV)
16:00 5th-place game:  York vs TBD (SportsCanada.TV)

Sunday, Nov. 13
11:00 Bronze medal (SportsCanada.TV)
14:00 Championship final (SportsCanada.TV)

Thunderbirds blank Axemen, to play for fifth 

 

GUELPH, Ont. (U Sports) – The UBC Thunderbirds rebounded from a heartbreaking quarterfinal loss to defeat the Acadia Axemen 3-0 in the second consolation semifinal of the CIS men’s soccer championship, Friday afternoon.

The Thunderbirds, who lost 3-2 in extra time to UQAM in Thursday’s opening round, advance to the consolation final for fifth place on Saturday, Nov. 12 at 4 p.m. ET. UBC will face the defending national champion York Lions in the game.

“Today was a difficult game to play in, but we stressed to the guys that this was a game for the seniors – we have five graduating seniors and we wanted to send them off in a positive fashion and for that I’m very proud of the way we played today,” said UBC head coach Mike Mosher. “Looking ahead to tomorrow against a good team like York, we’ll use it as an experience and make the best of it.”

The result marked the end of the season for Acadia, which dropped a 2-2 decision in penalty kicks to the host Guelph Gryphons in Thursday’s first round.

“We knew today was going to be physically exhausting for us after having a number of injuries and losing in last night’s game in PKs,” said Acadia head coach Findlay MacRae.

“I’m very happy with how we played yesterday, and given the progress we’ve made it’s been a great learning experience for the players.”

Lucas Reis, a fourth-year midfielder from Port Moody, B.C. opened the scoring in the 16th minute. An initial shot on net was deflected by Acadia goalkeeper Pietro Nottegar of Dartmouth, N.S., as Reis didn’t hesitate to get it past the keeper for a 1-0 UBC lead.

Only minutes later, UBC’s leading scorer during the regular season, Titouan Chopien of Kaslo, B.C., struck the ball from the top of the 18-yard box – and despite being surrounded by Axemen – riffled a shot and put it into the top left corner.

While the Canada West finalist Thunderbirds controlled possession in the first half, it was the AUS finalist Axemen who tallied the best chances coming off an excellent counter attack, but couldn’t get past UBC second-year goalie Chad Bush of Ottawa.

In the second half, UBC continued to control possession of the game, as neither teams tallied many shots. Then, solidifying the 3-0 win was forward Luke Griffin of Coquitlam, B.C., who scored a brilliant individual goal inside the box, just beating the outstretched arm of the keeper, inside the left post in the 82nd minute.

The UBC Thunderbirds will now play the York Lions in the CIS fifth-place game, which is scheduled to kickoff at 4 p.m. ET on Saturday, Nov. 12.

SCORING SUMMARY:
UBC: 2-1: 3
ACA: 0-0: 0

First Half
1. UBC Lucas Reis (1), 16:41
2. UBC Titouan Chopin (1), 19:09

Second Half
3. UBC Luke Griffin (1) 82:24

Goalkeepers:
UBC: Chad Bush (W 0 GA, 0 save, 90:00, 1-1)
ACA: Pietro Nottegar (L 3 GA, 1 save, 90:00, 0-1)

Team Stats
Shots: UBC 10, ACA 5
Shots on net: UBC 4, ACA 2
Corners: UBC 3, ACA 2
Offsides: UBC 2, ACA 1
Fouls: UBC 0, ACA 0
Yellow cards: None
Red cards: None

Players of the game:
UBC: Bryan Fong
ACA: Cooper Coats
 
Thursday, Nov. 10
11:00 Quarter-final 1: Alberta def. York 2-0
13:30 Quarter-final 2: Cape Breton def. Toronto 1-0-OT
16:00 Quarter-final 3: UQAM def. UBC 3-2-OT
19:00 Quarter-final 4: Guelph def. Acadia 2-2 (PK)

Friday, Nov. 11
11:00 Consolation 1: York def. Toronto 4-1
13:30 Consolation 2: UBC def. Acadia 3-0

Saturday, Nov. 12
11:00 Semifinal 1: Alberta vs. Cape Breton (SportsCanada.TV)
13:30 Semifinal 2: UQAM vs Guelph (SportsCanada.TV)
16:00 5th-place game:  York vs UBC (SportsCanada.TV)

Sunday, Nov. 13
11:00 Bronze medal (SportsCanada.TV)
14:00 Championship final (SportsCanada.TV)

 

Golden Bears advance to championship match with thrilling 2-1 win over Cape Breton

 

GUELPH, Ont. (U Sports) – The University of Alberta Golden Bears men’s soccer team will have a chance to win its first national title in a decade. The third-seeded Golden Bears defeated the 10-man Cape Breton University Capers 2-1 in the first of two CIS soccer semifinals on a sunny Saturday afternoon at Alumni Stadium in Guelph.

The match-winner came from a familiar source. Ajeej Sarkaria, the Canada West Player of the Year and a First-Team All Canadian, who scored 19 of Alberta’s 41 goals heading into the tournament, buried a shot in the 38th minute to complete a comeback win for the Canada West champions

The Golden Bears, who last won a CIS championship in 2006, advance to the championship match Sunday at 2:00 p.m. to face the winner of the second semifinal between the UQAM Citadins and the University of Guelph Gryphons. 

“We had high expectations coming into this season,” said Sarkaria, an Edmonton, Alta., native in his first year of university soccer. “Since August, we’ve been working hard every day. To be in this position, to get ourselves here, it means a lot. And we have to perform tomorrow.”

Fourth-year engineering student and Calgary native Tolu Esan also scored for the Golden Bears, while Caelann Budhoo, a rookie from Winnipeg had the lone goal for second-seeded Cape Breton.

Trailing 2-1 after Sarkaria’s goal late in the first half, the Capers attacked desperately early in the second, producing several chances and forcing the Golden Bears to stay alert in the area. But the match turned quickly in Alberta’s favour. Cape Breton goalkeeper Jamie Wilson made a critical save on a hard strike from Sebastian Crema on a Golden Bears counter attack.

Moments later, the Capers went down to 10 men, when defender Peter Schaale picked up a red card for a harsh tackle on Esan, who was sent in alone and brought down just outside the box. Schaaale will miss Sunday’s bronze medal match.

Despite being reduced to 10 men, Cape Breton pressed and came close to tying the match in the 83rd minute. Stuart Heath smashed a shot from about 12 yards out that forced Alberta goalkeeper Connor James into a critical two-handed save. Marcus Campanile then headed a ball past James but it hit the crossbar. 

The attacks continued into injury time before the final whistle went and some of the exhausted Cape Breton players collapsed on the pitch.

“I’m very proud of the boys in the way reacted to going down to 10 men,” said Cape Breton coach Deano Morley. “We stayed organized and we created chance after chance. We were unfortunate not to get one.”

The Golden Bears were aware that there was work to do despite having the lead an extra man.

“We spoke beforehand and knew that Cape Breton was a resilient team and would keep fighting until the end,” said Sarkaria. “We had to be able to withstand that pressure. They got the goal early but we stuck with it, got two ourselves and held on like we have been doing all season.”

Alberta was the more adventurous of the two sides early and almost grabbed an early lead in the sixth minute from a corner. The ball bounced around in the area and was chested towards the net but Wilson secured it to end the threat.

The match opened up from there. Cape Breton went ahead on an 11th minute goal from Budhoo, who was able to get on the end of a bouncing ball around the six-yard box and put it past James.

The Golden Bears found the equalizer almost immediately. Esan took the ball well near the top of the 18-yard box in the 15th minute and slotted a right-footed strike just inside the right post beyond the hands of a diving Wilson.

“We decided to gamble early,” said Morley. “We put pressure on the two centre backs and we wanted to come out in the first 20 minutes and put balls behind them. We got our goal.

“We had a breakdown in the middle of the six, we missed the ball and it landed at the boy’s foot and it’s gone in the back of the net, which killed the momentum we had created.”

Sarkaria put the Canada West champions ahead 2-1 in the 38th minute. Wilson made an initial save on an attack from the right touch line but the keeper redirected the ball to his right, where Sarkaria was left alone to wrap his right foot around a high ball and into the back of the net. 

“We’ve given away a soft goal but for the rest of the game, we’ve come on really well,” said Morley. “We’ve got a young group here, a lot of experience now and we’re going to try win that bronze medal.”

SCORING SUMMARY:
ALB: 2-0: 2
CBU: 1-0: 1

First Half
1. CBU Caelann Budhoo (1), 11:09
2. ALB Tolu Esan (1), 13:36
3. ALB Ajeej Sarkaria (1), 38:09

Second Half
No Scoring

Goalkeepers:
ALB: Connor James (W 1 GA, 7 saves, 90:00, 2-0)
CBU: Jamie Wilson (L 2 GA, 7 saves, 90:00, 1-1)

Team Stats
Shots: ALB 10, CBU 11
Shots on net: ALB 8, CBU 9
Corners: ALB 4, CBU 11
Offsides: ALB 1, CBU 2
Fouls: ALB 0, CBU 0
Yellow cards: ALB Noah Cunningham (38:09), ALB Cameron Sjerve (79:54)
Red cards: CBU Peter Schaale (63:06)

Players of the game:
ALB: Tolu Esan
CBU: Cory Bent
 
Thursday, Nov. 10
11:00 Quarter-final 1: Alberta def. York 2-0
13:30 Quarter-final 2: Cape Breton def. Toronto 1-0-OT
16:00 Quarter-final 3: UQAM def. UBC 3-2-OT
19:00 Quarter-final 4: Guelph def. Acadia 2-2 (PK)

Friday, Nov. 11
11:00 Consolation 1: York def. Toronto 4-1
13:30 Consolation 2: UBC def. Acadia 3-0

Saturday, Nov. 12
11:00 Semifinal 1: Alberta def. Cape Breton 2-1
13:30 Semifinal 2: UQAM vs Guelph (SportsCanada.TV)
16:00 5th-place game:  York vs UBC (SportsCanada.TV)

Sunday, Nov. 13
11:00 Cape Breton vs Semifinal 2 Loser (SportsCanada.TV)
14:00 Alberta vs Semifinal 2 Winner (SportsCanada.TV)

UQAM advances to gold medal game

 

GUELPH, Ont. (U Sports) – The UQAM Citadins men’s soccer team will play for gold after upsetting the top-seeded host University of Guelph Gryphons 3-2 in a classic semifinal at the CIS championship Saturday afternoon at Alumni Stadium.

The RSEQ champions had a dream start with two early goals, but had to hang on against the desperate Gryphons, who were poised to write a historic chapter in their program’s history on their home pitch.

Simon-Pierre Kounima scored twice for UQAM, including the match-winner in the 81st minute. The Citadins withstood an onslaught from the Gryphons and the fifth-year striker from Longueuil, Que. made sure of a chance that fell to him in the Guelph area, burying a high, hard shot into the top right corner of goalkeeper Ben Carinci’s net.

“I just made sure I had enough power in it,” an emotional Kounima said following his winning strike, tears streaming down his face.

UQAM will have a chance to win their first national championship when they meet the third-seeded University of Alberta Golden Bears, who advanced to Sunday’s final with a 3-2 win over the Cape Breton University Capers earlier in the day.

“We have to win this, for Quebec,” Kounima added.

The tournament was Guelph’s first appearance in the CIS championships since 1992, their best finish coming in 1990, when they were silver medalists. Coach Keith Mason expects a return to come much quicker.

“We’ve been phenomenal all year,” said Mason. “The spirit in the team is second to none, the quality. We’re young, we’re going to be good for years to come. Right now, this feels like a huge sledgehammer to the head but it will be a good learning experience for them. Next time they’re at nationals, and this group will get back again, they’ll learn from this moment.”

“It was our goal to try and be the best in this nation all season long,” said Guelph’s captain and fifth-year star defender Justin Springer. “Going down two goals early, that was pretty heartbreaking but having the fire, the determination and the motivation to come back and make it 2-2 by the end of the first half was witness to the character of this team.

“It’s definitely a season to remember. My five years here, we’ve never made it to nationals. Hopefully tomorrow, we regroup and come away with a bronze.”

UQAM’s First-Team All-Canadian goalkeeper Valentin Lamouile was tested often by the aggressive Gryphons and some of his key saves were critical in helping the undefeated Citadins (6-0-6 entering the tournament) to the gold medal match.                                                                   

Kevin Jean-Michel Le Nours, UQAM’s other First-Team All-Canadian, also scored for the Citadins, while Tomasz Skublak and Josh Seguin had Guelph’s goals.

The second half initially lacked the excitement of the goal-filled opening 45 minutes but Guelph had good chances to pull ahead of UQAM. The Gryphons’ best attempt came in the 66th minute when Skublak beat his man on the right and teed up Alexander Zis, but the rookie’s unchallenged shot sailed over the bar.

Skublak was brought down by Lamouile just outside the area in the 70th minute, resulting in a yellow card for the All-Canadian. Zis almost found the top left corner with the ensuing free kick but Lamouile dove and made the crucial stop.

Lamouile then denied the dangerous Skublak again in the 79th minute, this time on a hard, low strike after the Guelph forward outpaced a defender.

It was a disastrous start for the host Gryphons, who found themselves down 2-0 within minutes of the opening whistle. Guelph turned the ball over in its own half and Carinci was forced into a key stop on a hard strike from Felipe Costa De Souza. The ensuing scramble in front of the net seemed to subside when Carinci gathered the ball, but the referee deemed the touch off of a Gryphons defender was a back-pass and awarded the Citadins a free kick on the line of the six-yard box. Le Nours buried the ball in the top right hand corner of Carinci’s net in just the third minute.

“I’m not sure if that was a deliberate back-pass,” said Mason. “It’s a big call to make in the first minute and then you’re chasing the game. Two-nil down, they showed the character and the spirit they’ve had all season.”

UQAM kept applying pressure and made it 2-0 in the eighth minute. Second-year forward Alexis St-Hilaire produced a perfect cross in from the right flank, landing it at the feet of Kougnima, who cooly finished to shock the top seed and the Alumni Stadium crowd.

But Guelph found its way back into the match and tied the game 2-2 before halftime. It began with a much-needed quick response to Kougnima’s goal. Skublak, a second-year Hamilton, Ont. native, fought in the area and headed a feed from Zis past Lamouile in the 11th minute to cut the deficit to one.

Skublak almost scored again later in the half, but his left-footed strike was carried out of bounds by Lamouile. Skublak motioned to the crowd to increase the volume and the resulting Gryphons throw-in resulted in the dramatic 38th-minute equalizer. The throw sailed into the area and Seguin headed the ball off of the crossbar and in behind Lamouile, who was furious with his defenders.

“The last two years, we had exactly the same scenario, up 2-0 in the semis,” said Kougnima. “At halftime, the coach said, ‘You have to find it within you and make sure this doesn’t happen again.’ There are a few of us here that lived that, so the second half, we just really tried to focus.”

Mason knew his players had a tremendous opportunity at home. He expects them to be prepared for the bronze medal match versus the Cape Breton Sunday.

“It’s disappointing but we would like to collect ourselves and get ready for tomorrow because we still have a U Sports medal on the line,” he said. 

SCORING SUMMARY:
GUE: 2-0: 2
UQAM: 2-1: 3

First Half
1. UQAM Kevin Jean-Michel Le Nours (1), 2:27
2. UQAM Simon-Pierre Kougnima (2), 7:41
3. GUE Tomasz Skublak (1), 10:08
4. GUE Josh Seguin (1), 37:38

Second Half
1. UQAM Simon-Pierre Kougnima (3), 80:13

Goalkeepers:
GUE: Ben Caranci (L 3 GA, 3 saves, 90:00, 1-1)
UQAM: Valentin Lamoulie (W 2 GA, 3 saves, 90:00, 2-0)

Team Stats
Shots: GUE 12, QUAM 6
Shots on net: GUE 5, UQAM 6
Corners: GUE 9, UQAM 1
Offsides: GUE 2, UQAM 1
Fouls: GUE 0, UQAM 0
Yellow cards: UQAM Valentin Lamoulie, 69:57, GUE Justin Springer, 70:00
Red cards: None recorded

Players of the game:
GUE: Tomasz Skublak
UQAM: Valentin Lamoulie
 
Thursday, Nov. 10
11:00 Quarter-final 1: Alberta def. York 2-0
13:30 Quarter-final 2: Cape Breton def. Toronto 1-0-OT
16:00 Quarter-final 3: UQAM def. UBC 3-2-OT
19:00 Quarter-final 4: Guelph def. Acadia 2-2 (PK)

Friday, Nov. 11
11:00 Consolation 1: York def. Toronto 4-1
13:30 Consolation 2: UBC def. Acadia 3-0

Saturday, Nov. 12
11:00 Semifinal 1: Alberta def. Cape Breton 2-1
13:30 Semifinal 2: UQAM def. Guelph 3-2
16:00 5th-place game:  York vs UBC (SportsCanada.TV)

Sunday, Nov. 13
11:00 Cape Breton vs Guelph (SportsCanada.TV)
14:00 Alberta vs UQAM (SportsCanada.TV)

Thunderbirds finish fifth with victory over Lions 

 

GUELPH, Ont. (U Sports) – It was a tale of two halves on Saturday as the two most recent Canadian university men’s soccer champions got together here to decide a lesser title. And it was the UBC Thunderbirds who dominated the second half and came out on top, defeating the York Lions 2-1 to finish in fifth place and take the consolation crown at the CIS national championship tournament.

UBC was making its fourth tournament appearance in five seasons, having won bronze last year, and gold in 2012 and 2013. Despite a heartbreaking extra-time loss on Thursday that meant they would not play for a medal here at Alumni Stadium, the Thunderbirds were determined to finish their year on a winning note.

And they did that, first blanking Acadia 3-0 on Friday, and then fighting back from an early deficit against York, the two-time-defending Canadian champs.

“It’s been a long couple of days,” UBC head coach Mike Mosher said. “But to win the last two games is certainly better than the alternative.”

Things didn’t look good for the Thunderbirds early on. They went down early on a goal by York’s Stefan Popovic in the 14th minute, and were unable to generate much offence or many shots against Lions goalkeeper Daniel Gosciniak.

That all changed in the second half. Mosher made a number of substitutions, inserting several first- and second-year players, among them keeper Colton Cook, and from then on it was pretty much all UBC.

“The first half was certainly a little bit lackluster, but the guys coming into the game brought in some good energy,” Mosher said. “It was more of a resemblance of the quality that we have within this team.”

The younger Thunderbirds used their speed and energy to pin the Lions in their end of the field, and it was all but inevitable that they would eventually break through. But it didn’t happen until the 77th minute, when Liam McManaman broke down the right side and passed in front to Luke Griffin, who finally solved Gosciniak and tied the score.

Both teams then traded scoring opportunities, with York’s Ryan Telfer coming closest, beating Cook, but not the crossbar, in the 86th minute.

Penalty kicks to decide the matter were looming, but in the 90th minute, Griffin sent a through ball to Ryan Arthur, whose first shot was tipped by Gosciniak. Arthur stayed with the ball, stepped around the keeper, and had an open net for the winning goal.

“This is huge for us,” Arthur said of the opportunity to win the last game of the season. “Last year at nationals, we played York in the semifinals, and lost, so this was a little bit of payback in a sense.”

York head coach Carmine Isacco was clearly not pleased with his team’s second-half performance.

“They brought a lot of energy,” he said of the Thunderbirds. “But we should have matched it. A lot of our starters didn’t play today, and a lot of guys had opportunities to come in and show themselves, and they did a bad job of it.”

Isacco was asked how the disappointing finish will inspire the Lions – who were also dethroned last week as OUA champions – to bounce back next season in an attempt to regain their lost titles.

“We should be hungry every year,” he said. “We need to be better, and we need to be more prepared. That falls upon me, but it falls upon everyone else as well.”

SCORING SUMMARY:
UBC: 0-2: 2
York: 1-0: 1

First Half
1 York Stefan Popovic (1), 13:14

Second Half
1. UBC Luke Griffin (2), 76:04
2. UBC Ryan Arthur (1), 89:25

Goalkeepers:
UBC: Jason Roberts (1 GA, 3 saves, 45:00, 0-0), Colton Cook (W 0 GA 2 saves 45:00)
York: Daniel Gosciniak (L 2 GA, 4 saves, 90:00, 0-2)

Team Stats
Shots: UBC 10, York 10
Shots on net: UBC 6, York 7
Corners: UBC 7, York 4
Offsides: UBC 1, York 2
Fouls: UBC 0, York 0
Yellow cards: York Pierre Grenier (19:11), UBC Manraj Bains (22:07), York Daniel Gogarty (90:00)
Red cards: None recorded

Players of the game:
YORK: Eddie Lay
UBC: Kerman Pannu
 
Thursday, Nov. 10
11:00 Quarter-final 1: Alberta def. York 2-0
13:30 Quarter-final 2: Cape Breton def. Toronto 1-0-OT
16:00 Quarter-final 3: UQAM def. UBC 3-2-OT
19:00 Quarter-final 4: Guelph def. Acadia 2-2 (PK)

Friday, Nov. 11
11:00 Consolation 1: York def. Toronto 4-1
13:30 Consolation 2: UBC def. Acadia 3-0

Saturday, Nov. 12
11:00 Semifinal 1: Alberta def. Cape Breton 2-1
13:30 Semifinal 2: UQAM def. Guelph 3-2
16:00 5th-place game:  UBC def. York 2-1

Sunday, Nov. 13
11:00 Cape Breton vs Guelph (SportsCanada.TV)
14:00 Alberta vs UQAM (SportsCanada.TV)

Gryphons take bronze in style with 3-0 win over Cape Breton 

 

GUELPH, Ont. (U Sports) – It may not have been the colour they sought but the University of Guelph Gryphons men’s soccer team will leave their first CIS championship in 24 years with a medal. The top-seeded Gryphons, behind two goals from rookie midfielder Alexander Zis, won bronze on their home pitch with a 3-0 victory over the Cape Breton University Capers Sunday afternoon at Alumni Stadium. 

Zis’ second and third goals of the tournament lifted the OUA champions to a deserved medal. The Oakville, Ont., native, who scored eight times in his first season of university soccer, buried a free kick in the 29th minute. Zis struck again in the 51st when he tracked down a soft back-pass from a Cape Breton player and put it behind Ben Jackson, who had replaced starting goalkeeper Jamie Wilson for the second half. 

“It was hard for us to come out today and play but we have a strong group,” Zis said about Guelph’s emotional semifinal loss to the UQAM Citadins Saturday. “We’re very excited about this moment.” 

Guelph goalkeeper Ben Carinci kept a clean sheet with four stops, arguably his best coming in the 77th minute on a long, accurate free kick from First-Team All-Canadian Joel Eckert-Ayensa, as the Capers pressed for a goal. 

Chris Jacovou added a third goal for Guelph in the 86th minute. Senior Ethan Danielli, a late sub playing in his final match, struck the post with a hard shot and Jacovou banged home the rebound to the right of Jackson. 

Gryphons’ captain Justin Springer, a Second-Team All-Canadian defender, was also playing in his last match and received a warm ovation from the home crowd when he was subbed off just before added time. Coach Keith Mason said the two departing seniors, both great ambassadors for the program, were in the thoughts of the players Sunday. 

“They’ve worked hard for this program,” Mason said of Danielli and Springer. “They started the revolution, if you will. When they came, we were trying to make playoffs. When they’re leaving, we are winning Ontario championships and bronze medals at nationals. It’s a fantastic send-off. They’ve had five fabulous years.” 

Cape Breton, finalists in the 2012 championship, entered the tournament as the No.2 seed, after securing the AUS title. The Capers were initially aggressive in attack, showing the same passion they did in a semifinal loss to Alberta, in which they went down to 10 men. But on Sunday, they created only a few clear-cut chances and were whistled for four offsides in the first -alf alone. 

“We were missing a few players, we were a bit broken today,” said Cape Breton’s Second-Team All-Canadian defender and Nuneaton, U.K. native Daniel Pritchard. “We did want to win that bronze medal but unfortunately, it didn’t go our way. 

“The season has been good for these boys. We’ve had a lot of new faces, like 9 or 10 rookies, so to be AUS champions is a big achievement. Coming into this competition, we did think we had a shot.” 

Guelph took a while to gain a foothold in the match but they got a big boost midway through the first half. Youssef Zaghloul had a low, hard shot saved by Wilson in the 28th minute. The ensuing scramble resulted in a Gryphons free kick just outside the 18-yard box and Zis was able to curl in a wonderful, right-footed shot just inside the left post, which froze Wilson. 

He also scored on a similar set piece in Guelph’s opening match against Acadia. 

“It was very gratifying to score today just to help the team win the medal in Ethan and Springer’s last game,” said Zis. 

“The first half, we were still in the game,” said Pritchard. “Obviously, we did not take our chances. They took theirs and got that free kick in.” 

Guelph last appeared in the national tournament in 1992. The Gryphons overcame a two-goal deficit against UQAM Saturday before conceding a late winner. 

“We couldn’t have been any lower yesterday after what I thought was a great performance,” said Mason. “They’ve got an abundance of character, they’re fantastic young men. They’ve performed admirably, brilliantly all week and all season. 

“It took them five or 10 minutes to get into the game but once they got in it, they wanted to win it. We did what we always have all season – we scored three goals.”

SCORING SUMMARY:
GUE: 1-2: 3
CBU:  0-0: 0

First Half
1 GUE Alex Zis (2), 28:37

Second Half
1. GUE Alex Zis (3), 50:36
2. GUE Chris Jacovou (1), 85:18

Goalkeepers:
GUE: Ben Caranci (W 0 GA, 4 saves, 90:00, 2-1)
CBU: Jamie Wilson (L 1 GA, 2 saves, 45:00, 1-2), Ben Jackson (2 GA, 2 saves, 45:00)

Team Stats
Shots: GUE 11, CBU 10
Shots on net: GUE 7, CBU 4
Corners: GUE 4, CBU 4
Offsides: GUE 0, CBU 5
Fouls: GUE 0, CBU 0
Yellow cards: None recorded
Red cards: None recorded

Players of the game:
GUE: Justin Springer
CBU: Joel Eckert-Ayensa

Thursday, Nov. 10
11:00 Quarter-final 1: Alberta def. York 2-0
13:30 Quarter-final 2: Cape Breton def. Toronto 1-0-OT
16:00 Quarter-final 3: UQAM def. UBC 3-2-OT
19:00 Quarter-final 4: Guelph def. Acadia 2-2 (PK)

Friday, Nov. 11
11:00 Consolation 1: York def. Toronto 4-1
13:30 Consolation 2: UBC def. Acadia 3-0

Saturday, Nov. 12
11:00 Semifinal 1: Alberta def. Cape Breton 2-1
13:30 Semifinal 2: UQAM def. Guelph 3-2
16:00 5th-place game:  UBC def. York 2-1

Sunday, Nov. 13
11:00 Guelph def. Cape Breton 3-0
14:00 Alberta vs UQAM (SportsCanada.TV)

Khabra’s header earns Golden Bears fifth national title in 1-0 win over UQAM

 

GUELPH, Ont. (U Sports) – The University Alberta Golden Bears men’s soccer team are champions for a fifth time in school history. The Golden Bears, seeded third at the CIS Championship, defeated the UQAM Citadins 1-0 to earn the Sam Davidson Memorial Trophy at Alumni Stadium Sunday afternoon. 

Fourth-year midfielder and Edmonton, Alta., native Ajay Khabra had the match-winner, a header in the 58th minute, which gave the Canada West champs their first title since 2006. 

“This is an unbelievable group of players,” said Canada West coach of the year Len Vickery. “Right from the get go, they found ways to win. They surprised us right out of the gate, they kept on winning. Even in the toughest of tough games, they would always sneak a goal or if we were down one, they would score two. 

“I don’t know how they do it, but we would like it to keep going forever and ever.” 

Alberta captain Tim Hickson, a fourth-year midfielder from Edmonton, thought his side’s hunger and ability to disregard past accomplishments helped get them over the finish line.  

“It’s absolutely phenomenal,” said Hickson, his arms wrapped tightly around the trophy. “I’m not going to let this go tonight. This team that we have is by far the best team I’ve played on and I’m so happy to be a part of it. 

“Our coaches told us that we were a record-setting team. We’d only lost one game but it didn’t affect us. The whole way through, it was ‘We haven’t won anything yet.’ Our record didn’t matter, winning Canada West didn’t matter. We hadn’t won anything until we could lift this trophy.” 

UQAM was making its fourth ever CIS tournament appearance (third straight), but the undefeated RSEQ champions (6-0-6 entering the week) suffered its first defeat of the season at the most inopportune time. The creative Citadins, who showed offensive firepower throughout the week, were unable to test Alberta goalkeeper Connor James often in the final match, hitting the target just three times all day. 

At the final whistle, the drained UQAM players collapsed on the pitch, the sadness on their faces evident. Lamouile pulled his shirt over his head while lying flat on the turf.  

‘We had a hard course during this championship, all the games were tough to play with dramatic endings and we just ran out of gas at the end,” said UQAM coach Christophe Dutarte. ”We’re a group who faced adversity during the entire season because of numbers of injuries and veterans not coming back from last year. I’m really proud of our team. We played well and showed an interesting football collectively.” 

Alberta seemed in a prime position to get the match’s first goal when they manufactured a rare two-on-one counter in the 53rd minute, but Tolu Esan’s cross to a wide open Ajeej Sarkaria was scooped up by Lamouile. In the Golden Bears’ next venture down the pitch, Esan was tackled in the area, prompting screams for a penalty but the referee saw no foul. 

Esan began to take the game over and in the 58th minute, Alberta got the goal they were looking for. Niko Saler’s corner glanced off of a head and found Khabra, who generated his own powerful header that snuck in underneath the crossbar and past the leaping Lamouile. 

“Niko put the corner in like usual, it got deflected and I was lucky enough to be right there and get my head on it,” said Khabra. “Hands down the biggest goal of my life.” 

“We worked so hard and it paid off. It’s awesome that we got to do it together. We work for each other – that’s the number one characteristic of a winning team. No matter what came at us, we worked through it. It’s a resilient bunch of guys.” 

“It was going to take something a little bit extra -people like Tolu and Ajeej (the Canada West Player of the Year) and Bruno (Zebie) coming from the midfield, they weren’t going to be denied,” added Vickery. “And we had our secret weapon, Ajay Khabra on the header. We’ve seen it a couple times this year and each season. They key in on the big guys, the guys who are an aerial threat and Ajay pops up with a little magic of his own.” 

The two finalists understandably got off to a cautious start with little time and space to be had on the narrow Alumni Stadium pitch. But the tempo increased and Alberta had a decent chance in the 14th minute when Zebie stung a shot just over Lamoulie’s net. 

UQAM responded in attack and almost went ahead about four minutes later, though Joderic Sedjro’s chance near the left post was denied by an alert James. 

The desire not to concede was evident in a disjointed first half, with each team managing just two shots on target. 

“When it comes to championship games, the first bit is always tense,” said Hickson. “You don’t want to be caught off guard or caught on the counter. 

“I think the youth in our lineup and the fitness we have, we started taking it to them. Two thirds of the way into the game, we just found our pace and the gaps and utilized it.”

SCORING SUMMARY:
ALB: 0-1: 1
UQAM:  0-0: 0

First Half
No Scoring

Second Half
1. ALB Ajay Khabra (1), 57:41

Goalkeepers:
ALB: Connor James (W 0 GA, 3 saves, 90:00, 3-0)
UQAM: Valentin Lamoulie (L 1 GA, 2 saves, 90:00, 2-1)

Team Stats
Shots: ALB 5, UQAM 8
Shots on net: ALB 3, UQAM 3
Corners: ALB 3, UQAM 2
Offsides: ALB 1, UQAM 0
Fouls: ALB 0, UQAM 0
Yellow cards: ALB Ajay Khabra 24:56, UQAM Bivuala Daivy Makunza 61:39, UQAM Hamza Methamen 85:40
Red cards: None recorded

Players of the game:
ALB: Tolu Esan
UQAM: Hamza Methamen

Tournament MVP:
Noah Cunningham, Alberta

Tournament All-Stars:
Connor James, Alberta
Janko Vong, Alberta
Noah Cunningham, Alberta
Tolu Esan, Alberta
Kevin Jean-Michel Le Nours, UQAM
Simon-Pierre Kougnima, UQAM
Felipe Costa De Souza, UQAM
Justin Springer, Guelph
Ryan Telfer, York
Cory Bent, Cape Breton
Tomasz Skublak, Guelph

R.W. Pugh Award (sportmanship):                                                                                 Cape Breton Capers

Thursday, Nov. 10
11:00 Quarter-final 1: Alberta def. York 2-0
13:30 Quarter-final 2: Cape Breton def. Toronto 1-0-OT
16:00 Quarter-final 3: UQAM def. UBC 3-2-OT
19:00 Quarter-final 4: Guelph def. Acadia 2-2 (PK)

Friday, Nov. 11
11:00 Consolation 1: York def. Toronto 4-1
13:30 Consolation 2: UBC def. Acadia 3-0

Saturday, Nov. 12
11:00 Semifinal 1: Alberta def. Cape Breton 2-1
13:30 Semifinal 2: UQAM def. Guelph 3-2
16:00 5th-place game:  UBC def. York 2-1

Sunday, Nov. 13
11:00 Guelph def. Cape Breton 3-0
14:00 Alberta def. UQAM 1-0

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