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U Sports – QF #1: 2016 CIS men’s soccer championship: Saler’s brace leads Golden Bears to quarter final win over York Lions

GUELPH, Ont. (U Sports) — The third-seeded University of Alberta Golden Bears advanced to the U Sports men’s soccer semi-final with a 2-0 victory over the defending national champion York University Lions Thursday afternoon at Alumni Stadium in Guelph.

Veteran defender Niko Saler scored both goals for Alberta from dead ball situations, the second coming in the 79th minute to ice the game for the CWUAA champions.
 

“It’s always a challenge,” Saler said of meeting the 2015 champs and six seed in the first quarter final. “We were excited to play them and I think they were excited to play us. It was 1 versus 2 in the country the whole way through so it was a good matchup.”
 

Saler gave the Golden Bears a 1-0 lead in the 54th minute from a stunning set piece. Alberta was awarded a free kick at the right corner of the 18-yard box and Saler, a fifth-year graduate student from Lethbridge, Alta., curled a left-footed shot into the top left corner of the net past sprawling keeper Daniel Gosciniak.
 

“The keeper took a couple steps out and the wind was bringing it back so I thought I would just try stand it up to the back post and either we’re crashing into the top corner or it’s going in,” added Saler, who scored four times in 14 matches during the season.
 
The Lions were understandably urgent after Saler’s opener. York lobbied for a penalty kick when fifth-year midfielder Dena Iezady was taken down in the area in the 61st minute but the referee saw no foul and waved play on. The Lions had another chance in the 65th but a header off of a corner sailed over goalkeeper Connor James’ net. Moments after that, James just got his hand on a curling effort from in close.
 

York had another clear chance in the 69th but Steve Kloutsouniotis could not hit the target after landing on the end of Kyle Crichton pass through the box.
 

Alberta absorbed all of the Lions’ pressure and was rewarded when Saler put in his second of the match on another left-footed free kick that found its way through a sea of players and in behind Gosciniak.
 

“I question the two calls that they got for free kicks, for sure,” said York coach Carmine Isacco. “But that’s not it. It’s our inability to score. We created chances. We did the hard stuff, we just didn’t finish.”
 

The two teams, both of which spent time near the top of the national rankings throughout the regular season, played a scoreless yet entertaining first half. Alberta pressed early but it was York that settled in and began creating the more clear-cut chances by the midway mark of the opening 45 minutes.
  Minutes after clearing the ball from a scramble in front of its own net, York forced James into a couple key saves. Alberta responded in the 38th minute with a curling, wind-aided  free kick from Bruno Zebie, which Gosciniak parried away beautifully.
               

SCORING SUMMARY:
ALB: 0-2: 2
YRK: 0-0: 0

First Half
(No scoring)
 

Second Half
1. UA Niko Saler (1), 54th minute
2. UA Niko Saler (2), 79th minute
 
Goalkeepers:
ALB: Connor James (W 0 GA, 3 save, 90:00, 0-0)
YRK: Daniel Gosciniak (L 2 GA,  2 save, 90:00, 0-0)
 

Team Stats
Shots: UA 11, YU 16
Shots on net: UA 4, YU 3
Corners: UA 2, YU 4
Offsides: UA 2, YU 3
Fouls: UA 0, YU 0
Yellow cards: UA Janko Vong (47′), Ajeej Sarkaria(90’); YU Daniel Gogarty (60’), Eddie Lay (72’)
Red cards: None
 

Players of the game:
ALB: Niko Saler, UA
YRK: Ryan Telfer, YU
 
Thursday, Nov. 10
11:00 Quarter-final 1: Alberta def York 2-0
13:30 Quarter-final 2: Cape Breton vs. Toronto (SportsCanada.TV)
16:00 Quarter-final 3: UQAM vs. UBC (SportsCanada.TV)
19:00 Quarter-final 4: Guelph vs. Acadia (SportsCanada.TV)
 

Friday, Nov. 11
11:00 Consolation 1: Loser QF 1 vs. Loser QF 2 (SportsCanada.TV)
13:30 Consolation 2: Loser QF 3 vs. Loser QF 4 (SportsCanada.TV)
 
Saturday, Nov. 12
11:00 Semifinal 1: Winner QF 1 vs. Winner QF 2 (SportsCanada.TV)
13:30 Semifinal 2: Winner QF 3 vs. Winner QF 4 (SportsCanada.TV)
16:00 5th-place game (SportsCanada.TV)
 

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

QF #2: 2016 CIS Men’s Soccer Championship Eckert-Ayensa scores on penalty kick in extra time to send Cape Breton to the semi-finals 

 

GUELPH, Ont. (U Sports) – The second-seeded Cape Breton University Capers advanced to the CIS men’s soccer semifinal after defeating the University of Toronto Varsity Blues 1-0 in extra time.  The Atlantic champs will now face the Alberta Golden Bears, who surprised the defending national champions, York University Lions, earlier in the day. 

First-team All-Canadian, and German native, Joel Eckert Ayensa, finally broke the 0-0 deadlock with a rocket to the top corner on a penalty kick in the 111th minute.  With Eckert-Ayensa chasing down the ball, he was met by Varsity Blues midfielder, Harry Michelis.  The two collided in the box and a penalty kick was awarded to the Capers, while Michelis, in disbelief, received a yellow card.  Eckert-Ayensa himself was worried his shot might bounce out. 

“It was the right call,” said University of Toronto head coach, Anthony Capotosto.  “It was a 50/50 ball inside the box and if you don’t come out of it on the right end, it’s a penalty.”

The Capers controlled much of the possession in the first half and generated the best scoring chance with third year Ireland native, Stuart Heath unable to get his long distance shot past the arms of U of T goalkeeper, Mark Rogal (Vaughan, Ont.).  Both teams played a strong defensive first half, limiting the number of chances by their opponent. 

The game opened up in the second half, with both teams generating scoring chances. Cape Breton had maybe their best chance in the 61st minute, with leading-scorer and first-team All-Canadian, Eckert-Ayensa being taken down in the box with no call.  Toronto had a strong chance in the 66th minute after the ball fell to an open spot in the 18 yard box, and a sliding Michelis got a strong shot on goal, but right at Capers keeper, Jamie Wilson (Dunbar, SCO).  Toronto defensemen Kenny Lioutas (Toronto, Ont.) maybe came the closest to scoring in regulation time, as he blasted a free kick just over the crossbar in the 85th minute. 

Eckert-Ayensa figured a goal would come off of a set piece or a penalty kick.

“Toronto made it hard for us,” he said. “They sat back and defended very well. We tried to hold the ball, keep possession and get our chances.” 

Blues goalkeeper Mark Rogal, who was named player of the game for U of T, was terrific all game, making key saves, and also cutting off crosses from all over the field, all game long.  Forward Cory Bent (Preston, UK), who always seemed to be around the ball in the attacking half, was named player of game for Cape Breton. 

Up next, the Cape Breton Capers will advance to the semifinals against the Alberta Golden Bears on Saturday (Nov. 12) at 11:00 a.m. Toronto will face the York Lions tomorrow (Nov. 11) at 11:00 a.m.

SCORING SUMMARY:
TOR 0-0-0-0
CBU: 0-0-0-1

First Half
(No scoring)

Second Half
(No scoring)

Extra Time (2 x 15 mins)
1. Joel Eckert-Ayensa (1), 110:12

Goalkeepers:
CBU: Jamie Wilson (W 0 GA, 4 save, 120:00, 1-0)
TOR: Mark Rogal (L 1 GA, 3 save, 120:00, 0-1)

Team Stats
Shots: CBU 7, TOR 6
Shots on net: CBU 4, TOR 3
Corners: CBU 5, TOR 2
Offsides: CBU 0, TOR 0
Fouls: CBU 0, TOR 0
Yellow cards: Lucas Macnaughten (TOR), Nikola Stakic (TOR), Mark Rogal (TOR), Trey Bean (CBU)
Red cards: None

Players of the game:
CBU: Cory Bent
TOR: Mark Rogal
 
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 vs. UBC (SportsCanada.TV)
19:00 Quarter-final 4: Guelph vs. Acadia (SportsCanada.TV)

Friday, Nov. 11
11:00 Consolation 1: York vs. Toronto (SportsCanada.TV)
13:30 Consolation 2: Loser QF 3 vs. Loser QF 4 (SportsCanada.TV)
 
Saturday, Nov. 12
11:00 Semifinal 1: Alberta vs. Cape Breton (SportsCanada.TV)
13:30 Semifinal 2: Winner QF 3 vs. Winner QF 4 (SportsCanada.TV)
16:00 5th-place game (SportsCanada.TV)

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

QF #3: 2016 CIS Men’s Soccer Championship UQAM advance to semifinals in thrilling 3-2 extra time victory

 

GUELPH, Ont. (U Sports) – UQAM are heading back to the CIS men’s soccer semifinals after a 3-2 defeat of the UBC Thunderbirds, avenging their bronze medal loss to UBC last year. They now await the winner of the last quarterfinal matchup between number one seed and host, Guelph Gryphons and the Acadia Axemen.

The hero for UQAM was Simon-Pierre Kougnima (Lougueuil, Que.), who pounced on an uncharacteristically bad back pass by first-team All-Canadian Bryan Fong (Vancouver) that came up short to goalkeeper Chad Bush (Ottawa).  Kougnima beat Bush to the ball, pushed it passed him and fired it in the wide open net for a 3-2 lead in the 103rd minute, and the eventual game-winner. 

A former defensive midfielder, Kougnima, knew what he was looking for. 

“I always look for mistakes, I try to expect what they might do and in this case it worked out well.”  Despite this being a rematch of the semifinals last year, Kougnima and the Citadins weren’t looking at this game as revenge. “Our squad this year is different since a lot of players are gone from the team. Plus we just wanted to forget that game.”

UBC looked like they may dominate the game from the opening whistle, as Kerman Pannu (Surrey, B.C.), hammered home a low line drive past a frozen Valentin Lamoulie, in only the third minute.  The first-team All-Canadian goalkeeper had no chance on the play.  UQAM started to find their legs halfway through the opening 45 and were rewarded by drawing a penalty kick in the 22nd minute.  Fifth-year senior James Louis-Jeune (Saint-Leonard, Que.) took the penalty and hammered the ball right down the middle, waiting just long enough for Bush to dive to his left. 

UQAM took a 2-1 lead in the 38th minute off a free kick taken beautifully by Louis-Jeune, which found the boot of Bivuala Daivy Makunza (Montmorency, FRA) and deflected in off the far post, much to the surprise of Bush. The back and forth continued with rookie forward Zach Verhoven (Surrey, B.C.) firing a laser into the back of the net in the 41st minute for UBC, evening up the score at two.    

After a wide open first half, both teams failed to score in the second half, but not for a lack of opportunities.  Both sides kept up the high tempo throughout, which made it an exciting game to watch from start to finish.  UQAM will look back and regret not scoring in a sequence in the 60th minute in which Kougnima hit the cross bar from just a few yards away, and then the rebound was cleared off the line by sprawling UBC defender, Verhoven.  UQAM kept up most of the pressure late into second half, hitting a post and a crossbar off a corner kick in the 90th minute. 

The Citadins will now advance to Saturday’s semifinal against the winner of Guelph and Acadia’s quarterfinal coming up next, while the Thunderbirds will play the day’s last quarterfinal game.  

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

First Half
1. UBC Kerman Pannu (1), 2:05
2. UQAM James Louis-Jeune (1), 22
3. UQAM Bivuala Daivy Makunz (1), 38:45
4. UBC Zach Verhoven (1), 41:16

Second Half
(No scoring)

Extra Time (2×15 mins)
5. UQAM Simon-Pierre Kougnima (103:43)

Goalkeepers:
UQAM: Valentin Lamoulie (W 2 GA, 3 save, 120:00, 1-0)
UBC: Chad Bush (L 3 GA, 2 save, 120:00, 0-1)

Team Stats
Shots: UQAM 13, UBC 9
Shots on net: UQAM 5, UBC 5
Corners: UQAM 7, UBC 3
Offsides: UQAM 2, UBC 3
Fouls: UQAM 0, UBC 0
Yellow cards: Simon-Pierre Kougnima (UQAM), Andre Bona (UQAM), Manraj Bains (UBC), Valentin Lamoulie (UQAM)
Red cards: None

Players of the game:
UQAM: Simon-Pierre Kougnima
UBC: Zach Verhoven
 
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 vs. Acadia (SportsCanada.TV)

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

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

 

QF #4: 2016 CIS Men’s Soccer Championship Top-seeded Guelph Gryphons advance with dramatic win in penalties

GUELPH, Ont. (U Sports) – The last of four quarterfinals provided high drama on the opening day of the CIS men’s soccer championship. The OUA champion and top-seeded University of Guelph Gryphons buried all five of their penalty kicks to defeat the Acadia Axemen 2-2 (5-3) in front of an elated crowd at Alumni Stadium on Thursday evening. 

After a memorable 120-plus minutes of play, Owen Botelho, Jalen Noronha, Jace Kotsopolous, Tomasz Skublak and Chris Jacovou all scored from the spot, while goalkeeper Ben Carinci stopped Acadia’s first attempt by Ryan Parris. Jacovou clinched the victory when he scored low and left as Axemen goalkeeper Nigel Goodwin guessed wrong.

“Towards the end of the game, both teams were dead on their feet,” said Guelph coach Keith Mason. “It was a matter of will power. We kept pushing, we tried to get the winner. 

“It went to penalty kicks and I just reminded the guys, like every day in practice, stay calm and just put it at the corners and they did. I’m very proud of them.

“It was a great advertisement for U Sportssoccer.”

Mason heaped praise on Carinci for his initial stop in the kicks. 

“It was huge,” he said. “The players wanted to go second and I said, ‘No, go first because if we get the first goal, it puts the pressure on them.’ Luckily, we lost the toss and they picked to go second. I got what I wanted.”

Guelph will play the UQAM Citadins in the second semifinal on Saturday, after the RSEQ champions defeated the UBC Thunderbirds 3-2 in extra time earlier Thursday.

Acadia, buoyed by two equalizers, started the extra period in search of a winner. Axemen midfielder Jordan Fabri smashed a shot from outside of the Guelph 18-yard box in the 96th minute, forcing Carinci to parry the ball off of the crossbar before gathering. Goodwin responded with his own critical save on rookie Alexander Zis in the 104th minute. The Gryphons created some dramatic chances late in extra time but Acadia defenders threw themselves at the shots to send the match to penalties.

Kotsopolous and Zis scored for the Gryphons. Cooper Coats and Travis Fenning provided the regulation time goals for Acadia.

Guelph was dominant in possession and attack throughout most of the match but was unable to pull away from the Axemen, who withstood an early onslaught and clawed back twice after conceding. Kostopolous, the Gryphons’ leading goal man in the regular season with 17, scored in the 54th minute to give the hosts a 2-1 lead. The second-year player, from Burlington, Ont., stayed patient in the area before driving the ball past Goodwin. 

The goal provided temporary relief to the nervous, pro-Gryphon crowd but the feelings were short-lived.  Coats stunned those in Alumni Stadium with a beautiful free kick from 22 yards out that found the top left corner of Carinci’s net less than four minutes later.

“It’s been an incredible experience being here,” said Acadia captain and First-Team All-Canadian Andrew Snyder. “This is our first championship since 1996. We tried to work our hardest throughout the whole game. I think we gave them a good run for their money. They’re an excellent team.”

The OUA champions looked threatening and decisive early, testing Goodwin on numerous occasions in the first 10 minutes. The Acadia goalkeeper made a tremendous save in the fourth minute after a wild sequence in his area that arose from a Guelph corner. Zis rattled the crossbar on a sensational effort moments later.

But the first-year, Oakville, Ont., native made no mistake with a free kick in the eighth minute from 25 yards out. Zis curled a beautiful right-footed shot just inside the right post past the helpless Goodwin. He almost added a quick second after one-timing a perfectly slotted pass but his strike was secured by Goodwin.

“I thought we started the game fantastically,” said Mason. “We had a lot of good chances. The final ball just let us down a little bit today and we didn’t kill the game off. Acadia are a great team and that gave them some hope. They gradually grew into the game.”

While the Axemen faced waves of Guelph attackers, the AUS silver medalists produced a great chance for an equalizer in the 20th minute. Fenning was sent in alone and outpaced the Gryphon defender but Caranci came out to meet him and smartly denied the opportunity without fouling in the area.

The teams exchanged a few more good chances in the latter part of the first half before Fenning eventually tied the match 1-1 in the 42nd minute with a well-placed shot that beat Carancini on his left side. 

“The guys really bounced back and responded,” said Snyder. “Nigel did absolutely phenomenal. Travis with his first goal and Cooper with that free kick, were incredible. The guys were hungry to battle it out. Guelph definitely had some good opportunities in the first, they’re very offensive. We were very resilient.”

Goodwin saved five of Guelph’s six shots on target in the opening 45 minutes, while Acadia managed just two shots in the half, including Fenning’s successful strike.

The Gryphons now advance to the semifinals and will play UQAM on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. while Acadia will play UBC tomorrow at 1:00 p.m.

SCORING SUMMARY:
ACA 1-1-0-0: 2
GUE: 1-1-0-0: 2

First Half
1. GUE Alexander Zis (1), 7:47
2. ACA Travis Fenning (1), 41:57

Second Half
3. GUE Jace Kotsopoulos (53:01)
4. ACA Cooper Coats (56:49)

Extra Time (2×15 mins)
(no score)

Kicks
GUE Owen Botelho, goal
ACA Ryan Parris, saved
GUE  JalenNoronha , saved
ACA Tyler Connolly, goal
GUE Jace Kotsopoulos, goal
ACA Sean Langille, goal
GUE Tomasz Skublak, goal
ACA Cooper Coats, goal
GUE Chrs Jacovou, goal

Goalkeepers:
ACA: Nigel Goodwin (L 2 GA, 8 save, 120:00, 0-1)
GUE: Benjamin Caranci (W 2 GA, 3 save, 120:00, 1-0)

Team Stats
Shots: ACA 8, GUE 15
Shots on net: ACA 5, GUE 10
Corners: ACA 5, GUE 13
Offsides: ACA 0, GUE 2
Fouls: ACA 0, GUE 0
Yellow cards: Jace Kotsopoulos (GUE), Tomasz Skublak (GUE), Travis Fenning (ACA)
Red cards: None

Players of the game:
ACA: Andrew Synder
GUE: Benjamin Caranci
 
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 vs. Toronto (SportsCanada.TV)
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 (SportsCanada.TV)

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

About U Sports
 
U Sports is the national brand for University Sports in Canada. Every year, over 12,000 student-athletes and 500 coaches from 56 universities vie for 21 national championships in 12 different sports. U Sports also provides higher performance international opportunities for Canadian student-athletes at Winter and Summer Universiades, as well as numerous world university championships. For further information, visit usports.ca or follow us on:
 
Twitter: @usportsca
Facebook: @usportscanada
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/usportsca
Instagram: @usportsca
 
-U Sports –
 
For further information, please contact:

Ken Saint-Eloy
Manager, Communications
U Sports
Cell: 647-871-7595
ksainteloy@usports.ca
 
Alan Hudes
Coordinator, Communications
U Sports
Off: 905-508-3000 ext. 242
Cell: 647-991-5343
ahudes@usports.ca 
 
Michelle Pino
Sports Information
University of Guelph
Off: 519 824-4120 ext. 53159
Cell: 519-400-4622
mpino@uoguelph.ca