Now that was a weekend in the OUA in Men’s Soccer!!!
We can insert all the clichés you can probably want, “That’s why you play the game.” “The ball is round.” “That’s the way the ball bounces.” “It just wasn’t our day.” In the end, it IS about results and the result.
So ahead of this week’s USPORTS national men’s soccer rankings coming out on Tuesday, there is one thing that we do know, four out of the five nationally ranked teams are gone, season over, just like that. Only the Number 6 TMU Bold are still alive in the OUA playoff picture on the Men’s side and rest… well as bitter a pill as it is to swallow, it’s over for another year.
So let’s take a look at what transpired and as see how the coefficient is now completely turned upside down.
York Lions 1 – Waterloo Warriors 3
In a result that most would agree was nothing short of shocking, Number 1 ranked York University Lions were ousted in the OUA quarter-finals by the Waterloo Warriors in a 3-1 decision at Alumni Field on Saturday afternoon. The Lions came in as the favorite to go through the OUA playoffs like a “hot knife” through butter. They were absolutely flying this year with a 10-0-2 record. Coach Carm Issaco’s men were the typical York team that he has assembled over the past decade plus, fast, talented and smart. They had been tested this year, but those results were ties. Enter Coach Mark Wharton’s Waterloo Warriors.
Over the up and down season the Warriors came into the game unranked with a .500 record of 5-5-2 and had just played a marathon playoff game with Western that they outlasted them 5-4 in penalties. But they were battle tested and ready. David versus Goliath maybe, but again, that’s why we play the games. And played they did. The Warriors put together a complete 90 minutes of soccer on Saturday afternoon in Toronto as they ousted the No. 1 team in the country, York by a score of 3-1 to punch their ticket to the OUA semifinals.
The game began with the Warriors controlling play early, as had several good chances being created by their front three. York managed to survive the first half with the game scoreless. They had a great chance at the start of the second, as a ball fell to Milo Djuricic from a corner taken by Joe Mack. The Lions were unable to capitalize, however. The Lions found the games opening goal on a PK as Joey Mac put his home side up 1-0 in the 57th minute. Waterloo responded quickly, just beyond the hour mark in the 64th minute, as the reigning OUA west rookie of the year, Matheus Mello evened things up after tricky play in the box with Sasha Dmitrovic getting the assist.
What looked like a game destined for extra time, Waterloo had other ideas and off a set piece in the 80th minutes, with a corner kick the Warriors took a 2-1 lead as Will Ratelband finished off a goal mouth scramble in front of the Lions net.
York had a couple of chances to equalize the game, but it was the always offensive minded Sebastian Guerrieri who put this match away in the 83rd minute with a beautiful shot from long range that found the top corner of Cabrone’s net after an assist from James Arango to make it 3-1 Warriors and solidify the shocking upset.
TMU Bold 2 – Carleton Ravens 1
A 90th minute penalty was the difference, as the Number 6 Nationally Ranked TMU Bold men’s soccer team fought off the Number 4 Carleton Ravens in the OUA quarter-final with a 2-1 victory.
The intensity in this match was high given the recent playoff matchups between the two sides as well as their two regular-season meetings. Chances were extremely difficult to come-by.
TMU was awarded a penalty in the first half, but Carleton Ravens goalkeeper Tyler David was able to stop a Justin Santos penalty in the opening half — a save that kept the scoreline at 0-0.
TMU struck early in the second half when Luca di Marco got his side on the board. The Aurora, Ontario product made a dash down the right wing and got onto a nifty header from Kinani, and delivered a right-footed finish past David and into the back of the net.
However, in the 78th minute the Ravens responded. Lucas Piccioli converted from the spot, as Carleton took advantage of a penalty called by the official away from the ball.
With stoppage time waiting in the wings and feeling almost inevitable that overtime was coming, the Bold came through in the waning moments of the second half. The referee pointed to the spot and awarded a questionable TMU penalty after a header re-deflected off the arm of a Ravens defender.
From there, Ameer Kinani went low-left while the keeper Tyler David dived low right, as he scored his seventh goal of the season. Carleton fought valiantly in injury-time with a chance falling to Mandela Singh-Sharpe (Ottawa, Ont.), but his shot was blocked as the Ravens ran out of time.
A York Lions loss earlier in the day meant that, with a win, the Bold would play host to the OUA semifinal this coming Wednesday. They did just that, as the victory ensured TMU is now one win away from an OUA championship appearance — as well as a berth in the 2022 U SPORTS National Championship in Kamloops, B.C.
Guelph Gryphons 1 – MacMaster Marauders 2
The McMaster Marauders men’s soccer team hosted an OUA quarterfinal Saturday afternoon with the defending OUA Men’s Soccer Champions..
The Number 8 Nationally Ranked Guelph Gryphons men’s soccer team’s 2022 season came to a close on Saturday (Oct. 29) afternoon at Ron Joyce Stadium in Hamilton when they were eliminated by the McMaster Marauders 2-1 in the quarterfinal round of the 2022 OUA Playoffs. The loss comes following an amazing win for the Gryphons over the Brock badgers in penalty kick Wednesday night in Guelph.
The Marauders played to a draw and loss with the Gryphons earlier this year and were looking to get even in the rematch. Similar to those games this one was a tightly contested match.McMaster attacked early and often and broke through in the 40th minute. Senior, Mikes Green found second-year, Amir Shirazi in the box who slotted it past the Guelph goalkeeper. The Gryphons outshot the Marauders 8-6 in the opening half but, at the break, it was the Marauders who held a 1-0 lead.
McMaster continued the attack when they returned to the field. It would be 12 minutes into the second half when Shirazi would score his second of the game to put the Gryphons behind 2-0. In the 62nd minute the Gryphon would strike back with Colin Gander converting a penalty kick to cut the Marauder lead in half. The Gryphons would battle to find the equalizer, but the defending champions would come up short in their quest to go back-to-back.
With under 30 minutes to go, Guelph pushed for the equalizer but the McMaster defensive core held strong and made the necessary clearances to keep the game at 2-1.
Deep in extra time, the Gryphons had one last chance to tie things up on a free kick just outside the box but Ethan Cagalj (Stoney Creek, Ont.) denied the visitors to send the Marauders through to the OUA semi-final.
The Marauders will now move on to the OUA semi-final round and take on the Waterloo Warriors following their upset of the U SPORTS Number 1 ranked York Lions.
Nipissing U Lakers 1 – Ontario Tech Ridgebacks 1 (3-2 PK)
Attention please: Will Cinderella please report to the playoffs your carriage awaits, it’s not midnight yet!
The Nipissing Lakers men’s soccer team was the other squad that shocked the OUA Saturday night.
The Lakers not only upended the division’s top team, the Number 5 Nationally Ranked Ontario Tech Ridgebacks, but they did so down a player after a red card in the 82nd minute, they did so by scoring with less than two minutes left in regulation and they did so in penalty kicks.
It wasn’t the start the Lakers were looking for Saturday, as they fell behind less than 30 minutes into the contest. Chris Campoli (Woodbridge, Ont) opened the scoring in the 28th minute after being awarded a penalty shot as he calmly put in into the bottom left corner.
The match remained 1-0 for the Ridgebacks until the 89th minute with the Lakers turning up the pressure on the Ridgebacks. Justin Gomes converted off a set piece to tie the game 1-1. The goal also came with the Lakers down to 10 players, as they were handed a red card just six minutes prior to the game-tying goal.
Through 30 minutes of extra time, neither team was able to find the winning goal and the game went to penalty kicks to decide whom would advance to the semi-finals.
The teams found themselves tied 1-1 after two shooters, alternating goals and misses.
The shootout was not without drama though.
Tech’s Chris Campoli stepped up to take his penalty, he froze the goalkeeper, scored, but then it was called back because the official deemed that his stutter step was a stop in motion and thus the penalty was disallowed. This is a recent change in the rules that does not allow a retake if the player is deemed at fault.
After Ontario Tech’s initial goal, Gabe Pastore came up big, not allowing a goal on three straight shots, while the Lakers managed a goal in that time and grabbed the lead.
After the teams traded goals and the score was 2-2, The Lakers’ Cedric Devos stepped up to the spot and made no mistake sending Nipissing through.
The win keeps the Lakers playoff run alive and now sets up a league semi-final, another first in Lakers’ Varsity Men’s Soccer history, against McMaster Wednesday night at 7pm in Hamilton.
This arguably has been the most interesting and exciting OUA playoff run in recent memory, and with some firsts on the line to go to Nationals, this is going to be good on Wednesday evening in Hamilton and at Downsview in Toronto.
Can’t wait to see the rankings in a few hours.