Men’s Soccer: U SPORTS Rankings
An so it all begins, the second season within the season, where memories are made good and bad, heroes are born and hearts are broken. Legends are created and “goats” (not the Greatest of all time for you young folks) are pinned with blame. It’s the playoffs folks… the best time of the year.
Let’s start with the rankings for week 9 courtesy of USports https://usports.ca/en/sports/soccer/m/news/2023/10/4083604529/men-s-soccer-u-sports-rankings.
With the four conferences completing their season this past weekend, the playoffs begin on Wednesday October 25, 2023 in the OUA with the first round games. Although Carleton was the “runaway” winners in the East Division, the West was wide open, with everyone taking points from everyone and the surprise that Algoma U although they finished last are no longer the “Door mats of the League” as they held team to points and made life difficult for almost everyone this season with their play.
2022 demonstrated to us that “anything can happen”, with a rookie coach at MAC guiding his team to win it all, and then being asked to step down, Nipissing and Waterloo’s runs to the Provincial Final Four tournament, proving that anything can happen if you “BELIEVE”.
So now let’s take a look at the other three conferences and see what can be expected.
The U Sports No.2 ranked Cape Breton Capers earned a 9-0-3 record in the regular season, allowing them to clinch a first-round bye in the playoffs.
The Capers played in two matches this weekend, with both ending in a draw. They visited the UNB Reds in Fredericton Friday night, rallying from down 3-1 with goals in the 77th minute and in added time to salvage a 3-3 tie.
Saturday, the Capers eliminated the Université de Moncton Aigles Bleus from playoff contention with a 1-1 draw. S
The U Sports No. 9 ranked StFX X-Men earned their sixth-straight victory on the weekend, allowing them to finish with a 9-2-1 record on the season and also clinch a first-round playoff bye.
Friday, StFX then earned their second 3-0 victory of the weekend, shutting out the UNB Reds Saturday night.
The Memorial Sea-Hawks swept their weekend games over the Acadia Axemen to clinch a playoff position. They held off the Axemen for a 1-0 victory Friday night.
Then the Sea-Hawks then edged the Axemen 2-1 Saturday night.
Saint Mary’s Huskies had a 3-0 win over the Mount Allison Mounties and clinch a playoff berth on Saturday afternoon at Huskies Stadium.
The 2023 AUS Men’s Soccer Championship – presented by Bell, will be hosted by Cape Breton University in Sydney, Nova Scotia, from Oct. 26 – Oct. 29. For game times and more information, click here.
Okay so let’s state the obvious: Montreal is the team to beat and the one of the odds on favorites to take it all in November in Sydney, NS.
Coach Pat Raimondo’s team ran the table in the RSEQ (9-0-3 W-L-T), and although some of the scores were close, they never really have been threatened this year by their opponents. For the first time since 2006, the Carabins finished the regular season with an immaculate record without setbacks. Friday evening at CEPSUM, it was a 2-1 victory over the Citadins de l’UQAM which allowed the men in blue to end the campaign with an exclamation point.
Les Carabins will play their semi-final this Friday October 27, 2023 at CEPSUM. Les Carabins will meet the Concordia University Stingers who defeated the Laval University Rouge et Or last Friday evening in Quebec to snatch the last ticket to the playoffs for Coach Greg Sutton’s men.
The UQAM Citadins had already placed in second this season in the RSEQ and so their match this past weekend had no impact on the standings, since the Carabins and the Citadins were guaranteed to finish in first and second place respectively. UQAM will host the UQTR Patriotes on October 27, 2023 at Saputo stadium. The match will begin at 7 p.m.
So we figured that we would save this years’ best to last, so far.
Coach Mike Mosher’s UBC Thunderbirds are on a mission. He has assembled one of his best squads in recent years that has been just “humming along” in Canada West and with the Number 1 ranking in as many weeks through out the season.
The UBC Thunderbirds closed out the 2023 Canada West regular season in record setting fashion posting a 4-0 win over the host Fraser Valley Cascades Sunday afternoon.
Speaking after the game on Sunday afternoon, https://gothunderbirds.ca/news/2023/10/22/mens-soccer-dzikowski-sets-new-goal-record-as-t-birds-close-out-regular-season-with-win-over-cascades.aspx, Mosher stated, “It’s never easy to get into the squad in our group and today those guys had to play to help keep our momentum and also help our national seed going forward that might help us down the road. It also helps to rotate the group as needed and ensure freshness for next weekend when it really counts.”
The T-Birds will now turn their sights on hosting the Calgary Dinos for a Canada West quarter-final game at Thunderbird Stadium this coming Friday, October 27.
Having locked up the Pacific Division last weekend, a win in the quarter-final will allow UBC to host a semifinal game Saturday night with the winner advancing to the following week’s single game conference final, while also earning a berth at the upcoming U SPORTS National Championship.
Meanwhile in the Prairie Division in Calgary, in their last game of regular season play Mount Royal’s men’s soccer team bested the University of Calgary 2-0 and secured first place in the Canada West prairie division standings.
Both teams showed up to do battle on the pitch, and the first half of the game was back and forth with advances on either side. Strong defensive play at each end forced the first 45 minutes to conclude in a scoreless tie.
In the second half Mount Royal came out with renewed energy, putting the Dinos on their heels. At the 50th minute mark a Cougar attacker was knocked down in the box by a red defender who received a foul on the play. The Cougars converted and put Mount Royal on the board. In the 57th minute, the Cougars rushed the Dinos defence and came away with the ball. The shot rebounded wide and low off the Dinos’ keeper, and was kicked in on a spectacular play by Mount Royal forward who came speeding up the wide side.
With this victory secured the Cougars complete their season with a 11-2-1 record and secure first overall in Canada West’s prairie division standings for the fourth consecutive season. This placement ensures them home field advantage for Canada West playoffs this coming weekend. Matches will take place at Mount Royal’s Stadium Field on Saturday, October 28 and Sunday, October 29. The Cougars will play their first playoff matchup against an opponent yet to be determined at 1:00 P.M. on Saturday. Schedule updates will be shared in the days to come on mrucougars.com.
In other action from Canada West, in their final regular season game, the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns clinched their spot in the 2023 Canada West playoffs with a convincing 3-0 home victory against the MacEwan University Griffins. The Pronghorns controlled their playoff fate Saturday afternoon, as a victory against the MacEwan Griffins would put the ‘Horns in firm control of their playoff destiny for the first time in a number of years. The Pronghorns will face the University of Victoria Vikes on Saturday, October 28th in Calgary, AB at Mount Royal University.
Should be fun this weekend to see if it is a given with UBC to get to Cape Breton, or will someone else pull off the upset.
Stay tuned folks, this is the best time of the year!
2023-24 U SPORTS Men’s Soccer Playoffs
|Wed. 25||Toronto %||Queen’s||4:00 PM EDT|
|Nipissing %||Toronto Metropolitan||7:00 PM EDT|
|Laurier %||McMaster||8:00 PM EDT|
|Western %||Guelph||8:15 PM EDT|
|Thu. 26||Saint Mary’s %||Memorial||2:00 PM ADT||Live stats|
|Dalhousie %||UNB||8:00 PM ADT||Live stats|
|Fri. 27||TBD %||Cape Breton||2:00 PM ADT||Live stats|
|TBD %||StFX||8:00 PM ADT||Live stats|
|Calgary %||UBC||5:00 PM PDT||Live stats|
|CW Playoffs – Game 1 @ Thunderbird Stadium in Vancouver, BC|
|Trinity Western %||Alberta||7:30 PM PDT||Live stats|
|CW Playoffs – Game 2 @ Thunderbird Stadium in Vancouver, BC|
|Sat. 28||TBD %||Ontario Tech||TBA|
|Lethbridge %||Victoria||10:00 AM MDT||Live stats|
|CW Playoffs – Game 3 @ Stadium Field in Calgary, AB|
|Thompson Rivers %||Mount Royal||1:00 PM MDT||Live stats|
|CW Playoffs – Game 4 @ Stadium Field in Calgary, AB|
|TBD %||Carleton||3:30 PM EDT|
|TBD %||York||4:00 PM EDT|
|Soccer U M (2023-2024) • Calendrier des éliminatoires|
|Demi-finale||SM01||Ven||2023-10-27||19:00||UQTR||UQAM||Stade Saputo (synthétique)|
|Finale||SM03||Ven||2023-11-03||à déterminer||Gagnant D-F||Gagnant D-F|