As Much As It Looks Like The Same Old, Same Old… It Seldom Ever Is
Just like that… first month of the season done in the Men’s Soccer loop.
Here are some “take aways” that are obvious, and some that hopefully will not bring some alumni to blows with each other when talking about their former schools. Who gets to punch a ticket to the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Men’s Soccer National Championship will be hosted by Langara College later this year in Langley, BC, from Nov. 9-12, 2022, all depends on how things fall into place in each of the five conferences.
All matches at the LEC will take place at the Willoughby Community Park’s Norwest Premier Field, which offers Polytan Ligaturf RS+ field – the same product which is used in B.C. Place, home of the Vancouver Whitecaps of the Major League Soccer.
The tournament will feature eight teams from across Canada: conference champions from the PACWEST, Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC), Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference (MCAC), Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA), Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) and Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association (ACAA) as well as a wildcard team and the host Falcons.
Again, like the women’s rankings some are not so obvious, and as the debate carries on, there are some great conversations around the “ahhem” water cooler going on
So we might as well start at the top aka The Humber Hawks.
Four weeks into the poll and the reigning defending National Champions don’t appear to have missed a beat from last year in the OCAA West division with a 7-0 record. Mike Aquino’s Hawks appear to only have been slowed down by Coach Mike Baraslievski’s St. Clair Saints in their second match vs Humber 2-1. A stiffer test will come from Coach Stuart Mackie’s number 10th ranked Conestoga Condors on October 5th at the Ontario Soccer Centre. When you’re the best, everyone comes gunning for you and Humber does certainly always get everyone’s best.
In the east, Coach Patrice Geshar’s number 5 ranked Seneca Sting are off to an 6-0 start rolling through the OCAA East with their only real challenge to have been Algonquin College who they dispatched last weekend 3-1 at home. But stiff tests are coming from Coach John Williams’ 2021 OCAA silver medalist George Brown College and former National Champion Dave Ashfield’s Durham College to threaten that unblemished start. Coach Geshar like Coach Aquino, are reaping the rewards of the having talented rosters from Ontario’s GTA region with a number of players from League 1 Ontario rosters in Vaughan SC and Woodbridge SC respectively.
This will make for some juicy battles in the home stretch with teams all being guided by quality coaching. Unlike last year, the OCAA only gets one guaranteed entry to the 2022 CCAA Nationals in Langley, BC November 9th to 12th.
In the RSEQ although number 4 Garneau College is leading the pack with some decisive wins, championship Coach Charles Harvey no doubt is not allowing his Elans squad to rest on their laurels to earn the RSEQ birth to Langley.
Since losing their opening game of the season narrowly to Cégep de Sainte-Foy 4-3, les Elans have been on a run through the RSEQ schedule with their narrowest victory coming over number 13th ranked Champlain College Saint-Lambert at the end of September 1-0 and this past weekend over John Abbott 2-0 with a battle on October 10th with 4th place Vanier College at home.
Then the anticipated 1-2 battle with Coach Francisco Vela’s number 9 ranked and the 2021 CCAA Bronze Medal game participants Nomades de Montmorency to see whom is in first place going into the playoffs. Like with the women in the RSEQ, this is almost always “must see tv”. Quebec college men’s soccer is always entertaining and with this clash coming on October 14th, fans will be in for a treat. If you can, try and catch the game then at: https://rseq.direct/schedule/2022-soccer-masculin-division-1/.
In the ACAA, the number 6th ranked St. Thomas Tommies are off and flying. (No pun intended for the picture below).
To date, the Tommies have rolled through Dalhousie AC twice and have their only blemish on their record was a tie with their rivals in a ACAA 2021 final rematch with Jonathan Vos’s number 15 ranked Holland College Hurricanes in the second game of the season 0-0. On the recent trip to the Island, the Tommies ended the Holland College Hurricanes’ unbeaten run this season after a 1-0 win at the Grant Harvey Turf Field on Sunday afternoon.
This game featured the two highest scorers in the division, but it was a defender who scored the decisive goal. The ball dropped to the foot of Evan Rees (Elmira, ON) who pivoted sharply and shot the ball straight into the bottom corner of the net just before halftime.
The win leaves STU at the top of the standings with a 6-0-1 record. The Hurricanes sit in third, 4-1-1.
The Tommies next game is at home on Wednesday to the University of New Brunswick Saint John Seawolves while Holland will host University of King’s College Blue Devils on October 15. Looks like it’s going to be fun going down the stretch in the ACAA. Hopefully the teams have had to endure the worst from the storms in the early fall and now we can get some great college soccer to finish the season and propel a rep for the ACAA to nationals in Langley.
In the MCAC, Coach Glen McNabb has the number 12 Brandon Bobcats are walking through everyone with a 7-1 record with their only loss coming to Coach Justin Légaré Université de Saint-Boniface Les Rouges on the first day of the season. The rematch took place this past Saturday October 1st with Brandon exacting the revenge with a 1-0 win. The rubber match comes on October 15th at home and are the fans in for a treat.
And sitting in between the two teams are Coach Mo Cato’s Providence University Pirates who are looking to derail both teams. and head to Langley themselves.
In the ACAC, previously 3rd ranked SAIT was the the team that shifted the most in the national rankings with their 1-1 tie with Red Deer Polytechnic on October 2nd.
Numbers mean everything as NAIT and SAIT literally swapped spots this week with Coach Jeff Paulis’ NAIT Ooks moving from their previous ranking of 8th to the 3rd spot with a 6-0 drubbing of Concordia University on their way to a four game win streak.
Dramatic doesn’t even begin to describe the action from Sunday between RDP and SAIT.
The game was scoreless for 87 minutes before Red Deer’s Ajdin Sarcevic broke the deadlock with his fifth goal of the campaign. Then three minutes later Jolly Kopoanomo scored in the final minute of play to help his SAIT Trojans men’s soccer team salvage a 1-1 draw with the visiting Red Deer Polytechnic Kings at Cohos Commons Field.
Coach Connor Brady’s Trojans see their South Division-leading record move to 5-0-1, while the Kings jump to 2-1-3 on the year. As mentioned earlier, every coach knows that it is hard to be a first place team and play teams below you that come out fired up. But this is where champions show what they are capable of, they respond, stand and deliver. SAIT will bounce back from this because of their leadership. Which makes the ACAC fun to watch coming down to the wire.
In PACWEST action, for the second consecutive Sunday, Coach Robby Toor’s charges, the nations number 2 ranked Douglas Royals have beaten the previously undefeated Langara Falcons and have moved into a first-place tie in the PACWEST. standings. This left Coach Mark Rizzardo’s Falcons ranked unchanged at number 7 in the country, and VIU was able to move up from being 14th ranked to 11th with another match scheduled Wednesday October 5th at home for the Falcons between the two schools.
With a 2-1 win over the Capilano Blues. For the second straight Sunday the VIU Mariners went into Mulgrave School and took down the Blues by a single goal to wrap up Week 4.
The excitement for the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Men’s Soccer National Championship will be hosted by Langara College in Langley, BC, from Nov. 9-12, 2022 is shaping up nicely,
Stay tuned for the playoff previews and the weekly rankings provided by the Canadian College Athletic Association.