OCAA Rivals To Battle For CCAA Gold
Well… it was really inevitable this year, that the two best teams would come out of the OCAA and be a replay of the gold medal match two weeks ago in Vaughan, Ontario, but as the venue may have changed to the wintery picturesque mountain side of Langley, BC, that’s where we’re at on Saturday afternoon at 3 pm PST with the defending National champion Humber Hawks and the OCAA silver medalist Seneca Sting meet at Willoughby NW Synthetic Field.
Let’s take a look at how they both got here.
Match 8: Humber Hawks 3, Langara Falcons 1
The Humber Hawks are back in the championship final.
The defending CCAA national champions scored a pair of goals less than four minutes apart in the 30th and 33rd minute, respectively, (Federico Leal and Damion Kaye) and then tacked on another in the 51st minute (Luca Uccello) on their way to a 3-1 semi-final victory over the Langara Falcons.
“They are a good team that works hard, and we had to match their intensity, and I think we did that all game,” Uccello said of his Falcons opponent.
Langara did receive some second-half life when David Rodriguez Zegarra converted a penalty to make the score 3-1 in the 63rd minute. The Falcons continued to press and had two shots on goal in added time, but Humber keeper Holger Xhameta was able to glove the ball on each attempt, finishing with three second-half saves and five for the game.
“They bring a lot of spirit and work ethic and some good individual players. We knew we were going to have to fight for 90 minutes,” said Hawks coach Michael Aquino of the Langara squad.
Uccello (Humber) and Zegarra (Langara) were their teams’ respective Players of the Game.
Match 7: Seneca Sting 1, VIU Mariners 1 (4-3 PKs)
Athletes can be creatures of habit but sometimes it pays to go with your gut.
With the game in penalty kicks – the second straight afternoon they found themselves in the situation – Seneca Sting goaltender Anthony Gurrieri had just made a second save on the fifth VIU Mariners shooter, meaning a successful kick here would send the Toronto team to the championship final.
Francisco Thomas Cerro always shoots fifth for his team in this situation, so he had the opportunity to watch the previous nine shooters.
“The whole time I was standing there, I was thinking I always shoot to the left, but I was thinking in my head maybe I should go right because maybe they have watched me shoot penalties before,” he explained afterwards. “I went with my gut feeling and went right and everything worked out.”
It was his second goal of the game, as he also opened the scoring in the 60th minute, although the Mariners would equalize less than four minutes later with Billy Bagiopoulos erasing the deficit.
“We took a few minutes off and they scored within a few minutes which is disappointing, but credit to the guys, they never stopped believing,” said Seneca coach Patrice Gheisar.
The win advances Seneca – the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) finalists – to Saturday’s championship final. It will mark the program’s first appearance in the title game since 2009, when they won the title. It was also the last time the Sting have medalled
Gurrieri was Seneca’s 4imprint Player of the Game while VIU’s Matthew Coburn was his team’s recipient of the award.
Match 6 : SAIT Trojans 4, Rouges de Saint-Boniface 2
The SAIT Trojans were finally able to break through with a goal of their own, sparking a three-goal first half on route to a 4-2 victory over Winnipeg’s Les Rouges de Saint-Boniface. The Trojans lost their quarter-final contest 3-1 the night before, with their only goal coming off a Langara own-goal.
And for the second straight game, SAIT – the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) champions from Calgary – fell behind early 1-0, this time 10 minutes in off the foot off Trimech Montassar. But 10 minutes later, the Trojans were again the beneficiary of an own-goal and less than two minutes later, Nicolas Gonzales was able to extend the lead to 2-1.
Brock Mitchell (35’) made it 3-1 going to the half and after Montassar notched his second in the 67th minutes, the lead was down to a single goal. Montassar would unfortunately pick up his second yellow card, with the subsequent red card forcing him off the field and the Les Rouges to play down a man for the final, and the Trojans capitalized with Gonzalez netting his second in the 89th minute.
The Trojans were able to fire eight shots on goal in the first half and 11 total for the game, compared to just three the entire game for the opponent.
“We got what we needed out of our attacking players. We were able to put them in threatening positions. With them giving us good width and depth, it allowed us to play through the middle when we wanted to or needed to. We had good behaviour on and off the ball from attacking players today,” explained SAIT coach Connor Brady.
“We wanted to be more direct today than we were yesterday. We did that for the majority of the game today and if we can do that for a full game, then it bodes well for us moving forward.”
Gonzalez said the team was able to put the disappointment of the opening-round loss behind them quickly.
“With the game of futbol, it is a quick memory. You have to forget and move on if it doesn’t go your way onto the next (game),” he said.
Gonzalez was his team’s 4imprint Player of the Game while Saint Boniface’s Randy Gborie earned the honour for the Les Rouges.
Match 5: Nomades de Montmorency 5, Holland Hurricanes 1
A two-goal performance helped Xavier Houndo-Richard erase the negative memory of a missed penalty kick from the game before.
Houndo-Richard saw his penalty kick saved as the Nomades de Montmorency fell in the quarter-final round against the Seneca Sting
“I kept that (miss) in my head and that’s what motivated me and made a great impact on my performance today,” he said. “Personally, for me, I have never felt that kind of disappointment because I was one of the ones who missed a penalty, so it was really hard for me. But I am happy to have bounced back today with my performance.”
Houndo-Richard opened the scoring for the Reseau Du Sport Etudiant Du Quebec (RSEQ) champions from Laval as they defeated the Holland Hurricanes 5-1 on Thursday morning in the bronze medal quarter-final match.
He opened the scoring in the ninth minute and after the Hurricanes – the Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association (ACAA) champions from Charlottetown, PE. – levelled the score at one four minutes later with a strike from Parker MacLeod. But Houndo-Richard (30’) and Alexandre Marcoux (32’) struck back with goals in quick succession for the 3-1 lead at the half.
Marcoux (51’) added his second and Ansoumane Camara (85’) rounded out the scoring.
Hurricanes’ goalkeeper Keegan McKinnon finished with five saves as the Nomades fired 10 shots on goal.
Nomades coach Francisco Vela said his team did a better job of moving the ball and creating chances in today’s match. He was happy his team was able to put the disappointment of Wednesday’s defeat behind them.
“It is a tough loss mentally because you have to completely change the objective. Three years in a row we have lost in PKs,” he said. “We talked to all the players and made sure that the objective is a new one, but it is a good one and we have to be proud of it.”
The 4imprint Players of the Game were Omar Elkalklouli (Montmorency) and McLeod (Holland).