OUA Men’s Soccer Semi-Final
Drum roll please… The OUA semi-finals are upon us tonight for a trip to Nationals at Cape Breton in Syndey, NS November 9th-12, 2023.
|11/01/2023 Next Event||Brock %||Carleton||Semifinal||6:30 PM EDT||Live stats|
|Ontario Tech %||York||Semifinal||8:00 PM EDT|
Let’s take a look at how all four teams got to this point as a guide of what to expect tonight in Ottawa and Toronto.
Brock vs. Carleton 6:30 pm @ MNP Park Brock (7-3-2) @ Carleton (10-1-1)
How Brock got here:
In a highly contested and hard-fought battle, the Brock Badgers men’s soccer team defeated the visiting McMaster Marauders 3-1 in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) quarter-finals on Saturday, Oct. 28.
“We’re ecstatic. We started well when we went up 2-0,” said head coach Aleks Balta. “Credit to all the guys and the ones who stepped onto the field later on. They made a huge impact as a unit and we fought through it and got the win.”
Mere minutes later, Brock struck again as Badgers’ scoring leader Marc Iantomasi put in a ball past a scrambling McMaster defence. Michael Fernandez helped set up that play with his first attempt, causing Cagalj to come out of the net to try to make a play.
Amir Shirazi earned one back for the Marauders in the 29th minute. The Badgers held a 2-1 lead heading into halftime.
McMaster continued to pressure as they looked for the equalizer. Brock got into some yellow card trouble, giving up two (Noah DeDominicis and Nicholas Esperanca) within the first 20 minutes of the second half.
The Marauders kept pressing with multiple corner kick opportunities late in the contest. Goalkeeper Taylor Miskolczi made some key saves in the latter stages to preserve the Badgers’ lead.
Third-year striker Michael Solomon sealed the win with a third goal for Brock as the kinesiology major blasted the ball just under the bar, producing the loudest cheers of the evening from the Badgers’ faithful.
As the final whistle blew, the players celebrated a monumental victory, accomplishing a feat that hasn’t been done by the men’s soccer program in 17 years.
Balta looks forward to the opportunity for his team to travel to Ottawa for an epic semifinal clash with the No. 4 Carleton Ravens on Wednesday, Nov. 1.
“It’s going to be a huge challenge, but if you want to earn your right to nationals, you got to beat teams like Carleton.”
How Carleton Got Here:
Eric Yoseke’s goal in extra time broke a scoreless tie sending the Carleton Ravens to the OUA semifinals.
The Ravens carried most of the possession in the first half generating the majority of the possession and chances but were to open the scoring. The Ravens came close on a series of corners in the opening minutes but after 45 the score remained tied.
Toronto seemed content to defend for much of the second half, choosing most to attack on the counter while the Ravens’ speed and ball skills kept the Varsity Blues on their heels. After Toronto appeared to have the best chance of the half in extra time, Carleton turned quickly on transition as Anthony Domanico found Erik Yoseke alone with the keeper for a beautiful goal.
The two teams would play nearly six more minutes of extra time after the goal but Carleton and keeper Tyler David would close the door.
This is a rivalry that goes back to 2002 when the two programs clashed in the National “Lawn Tennis” Final where both teams played kick and chase until Brock scored on a corner to win the then CIS National Championship at Carleton.
Fast forward 21 years almost to the day and Brock walks in again looking to “Kick it to Carleton” at the Stadium beside Bronson Avenue. The coaches have changed in Aleks Balta in Brock and Marcelo Plada in Carleton, The venue has changed, it’s no longer grass, it’s field turf, the styles have changed, no more long ball high pressure, little skill and possession football, so this should be entertaining. Carleton will play and possess the ball and Brock will look to play, but counter just as much. This should be an entertaining tilt from start to finish.
Prediction: Carleton Win PK’s
Brock 1 Carleton 1 PK’s (3-4)
Ontario Tech vs York 7:00 pm @ York Lions Stadium Ontario Tech (8-1-3) @ York (7-2-3)
How Ontario Tech Got Here:
The Ontario Tech men’s soccer team is off to the OUA final four after beating the TMU Bold 5-4 on penalty kicks.
The Ridgebacks opened the scoring with a goal from Jacob Begley (Markham, Ont.) in the fifth minute of the game in what would quickly turn to be a physical one. Ridgebacks leading goal scorer, Omar Marzouk (Cairo, Egpyt) collided mid-air with Allesandro Prataviera (Woodbridge, Ont.) midway through the first half and left Marzouk with a cut on his nose that saw him escorted to the hospital for examination.
Former Ridgebacks Christopher Campoli would find the equalizer just before half to knot it up at one goal a piece.
Each team found chances in the second half, with Kevon Grant (Whitby, Ont.) making several diving saves to keep the Ridgebacks hopes alive. Ontario Tech also nearly saw deciding goals from Matthew Keeler (Thunder Bay, Ont.) and Brett Springer (Bramberg, Ont.) in the dying minutes of the game.
Throughout the extra time, neither team found the back of the net, setting up an familiar scenario of penalty kicks to decide the Ridgebacks fate. The Ridgebacks nailed all four of their first penalty kicks, and Campoli would stand as the lone miss for the Bold through their first four, setting up Jack Sears (Ajax, Ont.) to finalize the win by burying the final and decisive penalty to kick to advance Ontario Tech.
How York Got Here:
The York University Lions men’s soccer team survived the Western Mustangs on the quarter-finals after Tyler Attardo netted the game winner in overtime.
Thanks to Lions leading goal scorer, the red and white side are one win away from advancing to the OUA Championship game.
In order for them to make it, they need to first beat a dominant Ontario Tech team, who finished second in the OUA East with an 8-1-3 record in regular season. The Ontario Tech side finished second in the conference in goals (36), first in assists (26), first for penalty kicks (6-6), and first in shutouts (6).
The numbers posted throughout the season are proof that this will not be an easy side to beat. But it can be done.
The Lions showed numerous times this year their work ethic and ability to battle back on the field. Whether that be the game remaining scoreless until they could net one in the final minutes, or climbing their way back onto the score sheet in the second half. The York Lions never put their heads down this season, and after facing a couple of unfortunate losses, they immediately bounced back the next day.
The Lions bench runs deep, allowing for Master Head Coach Carmine Isacco to utilize all of his players when they need to be called on. Any player can easily slip onto the field and the game does not change course. First-year Maverick Wright proved just that int eh quarter-final game against Western, assisting the game winning goal to Tyler Attardo. Matthew Mollicola has stepped up big this season and has been a crucial part of the team’s success throughout their entire season.
The team has relied heavily on the goalkeeping of Alessio Carbone to keep them locked in on very important games and he has risen to the challenge. He made six important saves in the game against Western, helping them advance to the semi-finals this Wednesday.
So, this game can be dubbed the “Marzouk Bowl” given that Omar Marzouk has played now for both schools. But to be completely fair, there are so many marquee players in this game that it would take hours to list and detail them all.
With that being said, both coaches in Ramin Mohammadi (Ontario Tech) and Carm Isacco (York) have a healthy respect for each other and there is plenty of flair to each team to take it all. Ontario Tech has been near the top for the entire year in the east and York was a bit more challenged in the west winning the division over Brock on the last game of the season.
This should be an entertaining affair tonight at York Lions Stadium, that is almost too close to call.
Prediction: Ontario Tech Win
Ontario Tech 3 – York U 2