Completely Upside Down – Well Almost…
When the U Sports seeding committee set the seeds for the 2023 U Sports Men’s Soccer Championships in Sydney, NS, they set things up to be turned on it’s head with the lower ranked seeds possibly being the more successful teams at this year’s championships. This was coupled with some very good teams not winning their conferences as expected, (I’ll let you decide, and no, this is not any disrespect to those that did win), but it meant that we possibly could see a number 8 win it all. But you have to play and beat what is in front of you.
Now with that being said, that’s not going to happen with MRU pulling it out against York last night, but let’s take a look at what happened to set up the semi-finals at this year’s Nationals tournament.
All stories courtesy of U Sports.
QF1 – Substitute keeper comes up big for 10-man Carabins in U SPORTS quarterfinal
Substitute goalkeeper Olivier Rouleau came up with a big stop as the Montréal Carabins upset the Carleton Ravens in penalty kicks 1-1 (5-4) in the quarterfinal opener of the 2023 U SPORTS men’s soccer championships in Sydney, N.S., Thursday morning.
Rouleau, who came in off the bench after Carabins starting ‘keeper Jordan Tisseur got a red card in the second half, made the save on the seventh penalty kick on Yusuf Osman, securing the win for Montréal.
Sixth-seeded Montréal opened the scoring in the 33rd minute when captain Quentin Paumier put the ball past Carleton ‘keeper Tyler David from just inside the 18-yard box. Both teams had chances to put one more goal on the scoreboard near the end of the first half, but great saves by David and Tisseur kept the score 1-0 for Montréal after the first 45 minutes.
The OUA champions and the third seed in the tournament, the Ravens evened the game at one apiece in the 59th minute after the red card for Tisseur left the Carabins down a man. Rouleau made the save on the ensuing free kick, but could not control the rebound as Daniel Assaf scored on the loose ball.
The Carabins will take on the winner of the match between UBC and StFX tomorrow at 4 p.m. (Atlantic) in the semifinals, while the Ravens will face the loser in a consolation match at 11 a.m.
QF2 – Player of the year Dzikowski leads T-Birds over STFX
Sebastian Dzikowski continued his nation-leading play with another goal as the UBC Thunderbirds stun the STFX X-Men 2-1 in the second quarterfinal matchup of the 2023 U SPORTS men’s soccer championships in Sydney, N.S. on Thursday afternoon.
The 2023 U SPORTS player of the year and national goal-scoring leader got things started for the seventh-seeded Thunderbirds in the 45th minute of an otherwise uneventful first half. Thomas Pena pushed the ball past two defenders before tapping it back through multiple X-Men to find Dzikowski, who scored even with a defender draped all over him.
UBC showed off more great passing when Logan Chung found Luke Norman near the penalty spot to beat X-Men goalkeeper Samuel Diltz near post in the 52nd minute, making it 2-0 Thunderbirds.
STFX captain Lewis Dye got up high to find the back of the net with a header off of a corner kick in the 74th minute to cut their deficit to just one, but they could not complete the comeback before time ran out.
The Thunderbirds will go on to face the Montréal Carabins in the first of two semifinals tomorrow at 4 p.m. (Atlantic), while the X-Men will take on the Carleton Ravens at 11 a.m. in a consolation match.
QF3 – Clarke’s shootout saves send Capers to semis
Daniel Clarke made two huge saves in penalty kicks to get the win for the host team as the CBU Capers took down the UQTR Patriotes 2-2 (4-2) in the third quarterfinal game of the 2023 U SPORTS men’s soccer championships in Sydney, N.S., Thursday evening.
The Capers goalkeeper stopped Vincent Lamy, who scored a penalty on him in regulation, and Samuel Laplante to wrap up the win. Clarke finished with seven saves in the game, in addition to the two decisive ones during penalty kicks.
Sebastian Cochrane found Owen Sheppard twice in very similar spots to open the scoring for CBU. The first in the 21st minute and the second in the 32nd, Sheppard showed great touch and control both times off of long balls from Cochrane to beat UQTR’s Mathieu Lacharite.
The Patriotes piled on the pressure in the second half, totalling 11 shots with six on goal, compared to seven shots and only one on goal in the first half. They finally broke through in the 77th minute when a foul in the box gave UQTR a penalty kick. Lamy stepped up and beat Clarke that time. Mahdi Abbassi came in clutch with the equalizer in the 90th minute on a breakaway from a great pass by Etienne Bertrand to tie the game 2-2, but the Patriotes could not come up with enough during extra time and penalty kicks to complete the comeback.
The Capers will take on the winner of the game between Mount Royal and York at 6:30 p.m. (Atlantic) tomorrow, while the Patriots will face the loser of that same game at 1:30 p.m.
QF4 – Da Rocha’s late goal sends top-seeded Cougars into national semifinals
Miguel Da Rocha scored the only goal of the game just in time in the 89th minute to give the Mount Royal Cougars a 1-0 win over the York Lions in the last quarterfinal game of the 2023 U SPORTS men’s soccer championships in Sydney, N.S. on Thursday night.
Entering as a substitute at the start of the second half, Da Rocha’s header in the 89th minute sent the corner kick from Finn Marshall, who entered the game four minutes prior, into the back of the net for the game-clinching goal.
It was a very physical game, with two yellow cards and 15 fouls called on each team. The Lions took four shots with one on goal in each half, but the Cougars were much more aggressive attacking in the second half, taking seven shots with six on goal in just the final 45 minutes.
Mount Royal ’keeper Aidan Dumolin only had to make two saves to get the shutout, while Alessio Carbone made five saves on the night for York, including a great save off a header by Josh Flaksman in stoppage time, but just could not find the ball on the game-deciding header by Da Rocha.
The Cougars will face the Cape Breton Capers in the second of two semifinal matches tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. (Atlantic), while the Lions will play the UQTR Patriotes in the second consolation game at 1:30 p.m.