Tickets Punched For Cape Breton
So we already knew two teams that were going to be in Sydney, NS next week for the USports Men’s Soccer Championships in the hosts Cape Breton Capers and the St. FX X-men,, so what about the rest? Well after a weekend of some exciting results, we now have the tickets punched to the final 8 from November 9-12.
So let’s take a look at what happened Friday and Saturday to get us to where we are.
In what could be deemed as a bit of a shock on Friday night, UQTR took the RSEQ Men’s Soccer Championship final over the host and favored U de Montreal Carabins 2-1.
The Patriotes were no slouches last year, having finished second in the RSEQ standings with a record of 6-5-1.
The Patriotes ranked second provincially in goals scored (26), goal differential (+11) and third in goals allowed (15 in 12 matches).
The strategy of head coach Shany Black has made the offence prolific in recent years. The Patriotes have cemented a dangerous attack scheme as the status quo for the program. A standard that first and second-year talent follows on a path to good fortune. Players such as Gabriel Wietheuper-Balbinotti, who ranked second nationally in goals with 13 in 12 games played, and Vincent Lamy, who ranked top-two in assists nationally with six in 12 games played, are team leaders.
For the Carabins, they suffered a first defeat in 2023 in the RSEQ provincial final at the hands of the UQTR Patriotes, Friday evening when the came to CEPSUM for the RSEQ final.
It’s hard to beat a team three times in a season, much less the first time since October 31, 2021, then the last game of the season when Montreal had the league and the number 1 seed in the conference wrapped up.
That’s what sport is, these are things that happen, Carabins pilot Pat Raimondo wisely mentioned after the meeting. I’m proud of my guys, they fought, and they played. The Patriots deserved it, they worked hard, they did what they had to do. We just have to be ready for next Thursday.
The Carabins and Patriotes will now fly to Cape Breton where they will take part in the U SPORTS Canadian Championship starting Thursday.
The Carleton Ravens men’s soccer team are 2023 OUA Champions following a 3-1 win over the York Lions.
In what was dubbed a dynamic cross-divisional showdown this weekend in the OUA, as the top squads from both the East and the West will squared off to crown a conference champion. The Carleton Ravens and York Lions both looked to bring their best to the TAAG Park pitch, as the two consistent contenders over the past decade did battle for the Blackwood Cup on Saturday afternoon, November 4th at the 2023 Ontario University Athletics (OUA) Men’s Soccer Championship.
The York University Lions men’s soccer team found itself back in a position with which they’ve become fondly familiar: the OUA championship.
After failing to reach the conference’s crown jewel for the first time in nine years in 2022, the Lions were right back where they belonged against a familiar foe in the Carleton Ravens. The last time these two teams squared off on this stage, it was the Ravens who earned a convincing 3-0 win on the Lions home turf in 2019. On this day, the Lions had their eyes on payback on Carleton’s home pitch.
That task was made substantially more difficult with the absence of recently-minted MVP Christian Zeppieri, who was suspended for this game after removing his shirt in celebration of his go-ahead goal in Wednesday’s semi-final victory over Ontario Tech. The Lions were also without head coach Carmine Isacco, who was handed a red card in Wednesday’s win after arguing the equalizer.
Before a frenzied packed house at TAAG Park on a chilly afternoon, the Carleton Ravens fell behind early in the first half as Tyler Attardo landed a flying boot on a cross into the box to put the Lions ahead 1-0. The Ravens would tie the game before the end of the half when Luca Piccioli unloaded a 34-yard free-kick to even the contest before the half.
The Ravens took over the match in the second half, carrying much of the play while looking for a go-ahead goal. The Ravens patience would pay off in the 67th minute as Omar Darwish found a loose ball in the box and placed it behind the Lions keeper Alessio Carbone to put Carleton up 2-1.
With the Ravens ahead 2-1, Carleton was able to lock things down from there, and sealed it on Piccioli’s second of the day after he was left open in the middle of the box. The Carleton All-Star would step up again to score a mind-blowing brace that sent the raucous crowd at TAAG Park into a frenzy. As Mohamed Bouzidi worked his way up the sidelines Piccioli cut into space receiving the pass in the box before dancing around a Lions defender and the keeper for his second of the match.
That wrapped up a 3-1 Carleton win and secured a silver medal for the Lions, their third in the last four seasons.
The victory marks the Ravens’ fourth OUA Championship and first since 2019. Carleton will now enter the U SPORTS Championships along with York in Sydney, NS hosted by Cape Breton University.
The Mount Royal University Cougars won their first Canada West Championship today, defeating the defending champion University of British Columbia Thunderbirds 1-0.
The road to the Canada West Championship matchup has been an exciting one for both teams this fall. MRU finished the regular season first place in the Canada West Prairie Division with an 11-2-1 record. They bested Thompson Rivers University 2-1 in overtime in the quarter-final and then the University of Victoria 3-1 in extra time in the semi-final. The University of British Columbia noted a 13-1-2 record this season as the first place leader of the Canada West Pacific Division. Last weekend in their quarterfinal match, they defeated the University of Calgary 3-0 and then the University of Alberta 3-0 in the semi-final. This was Mount Royal’s first ever championship match appearance, meanwhile UBC had hoisted the trophy the last five consecutive seasons.
The first half kicked off at Mount Royal Stadium Field in front of over 500 hundred fans who braved the low temperatures to cheer on the teams. The competitive tone was quickly set as both sides settled in for the contest. Opportunities on both ends of the pitch appeared, but defensive lines on either side remained strong. The Thunderbirds held a slight advantage for a few minutes, containing the Cougars forwards, but they remained resilient and eventually an opening was found. In the 26th minute on an offensive rush, Ethan Keen tore up the field with the ball. He found teammate Joshua Flacksman ahead on the left, who took a shot on Thunderbirds netminer Bennett McKay. McKay made the save, but was unable to control the rebound and Keen found the opportunity to put the ball in the back of the net. The remaining minutes saw no further goals and Mount Royal entered halftime in the lead 1-0.
The second half kicked off, the Cougars determined to defend their lead and the Thunderbirds eager to take it away. Canada West Player of the Year, UBC forward Sebastian Dzikowski, played hungry on the field, working to punch a hole in the Cougars defense, which was led by Canada West Defender of the Year, Caden Rogozinki. The Thunderbirds pressure was relentless, forcing Mount Royal netminder Aiden Dumoulin to be aggressive on the ball to make big saves for his team. As the half went on the game felt to be dominated by the Thunderbirds offence, forcing the Cougars to play smart, defensive soccer. In the end the Cougars were able to defend their one-goal lead and made history, earning the program, and school’s, first Canada West Championship.
Cougars Head Coach Ryan Gyaki said about the victory, “This is surreal. I remember talking to the team at the beginning of the year and just the idea of making playoffs seemed impossible when we started. To finally touch the Canada West banner is incredible.”
Taking in the post game celebrations on the field, Gyaki added, “I want to thank all the players for how much they sacrifice. They have so much going on academically and yet they stay focused, motivated and make training a priority every day. Thank you to all the staff who come in every day and don’t get as much credit as they should. And the university, Mount Royal. People have no clue what is going on behind the scenes to make a game like today happen. This victory is for everyone.”
After securing their spots last weekend, both teams will now compete in the U SPORTS National Championship, taking place in Sydney, Nova Scotia from November 9-12. Games can be streamed on cbc.ca.
“Today was a good indication of what Nationals will be like,” said Gyaki. “UBC is an incredible program, humble and hard working. Today’s game could have gone either way and I think Nationals will be the same. We are looking forward to more hard fought games and hope the ball bounces our way again.”
All of the teams mentioned will be in Sydney, NS from November 9-12 for the 2023 USports Men’s Soccer National Championships hosted by Cape Breton University.
Tomorrow: Draw chart and predictions.