LAURIER TAKES OUA MEN'S SOCCER CROWN IN OT

TORONTO, Ont. - Forward Spencer Cawker (Mississauga, Ont.) scored the lone goal of the contest as the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks defeated the defending champion York Lions 1-0 to claim the team's fourth Ontario University Athletics (OUA) men's soccer title.

Minutes after the men's team claimed their banner, the women's soccer team defeated University of Ottawa in penalty kicks for their sixth title.

"The character on this team is beyond," commented men's team head coach Mario Halapir. "We prepare for every team in a specific way. Working against York, we had to plan for so many challenges and our guys were able to put in a lot of effort and bring the gold home."

Cawker came into the scoring situation in overtime after York defender Franco Ruscetta (Woodbridge, Ont.) mishandled the ball.

"I saw the goalie come out and take his first step looking a little hesitant so I just tried to kick the ball and chip it by him," commented the second year business major on the scoring play. "I was able to follow through and put it in and it was crazy."

The game had scoring chances on both sides through regulation time however both defences and keepers had strong games holding the score to zeros. Zachary Faubert-Tétreault (Kitchener, Ont.), Matthew Smith (Oakville, Ont.) had strong games in the backfield while Cawker, Sopearin Yos (St. Catharines, Ont.) and Imran Ahmed (Windsor, Ont.) created many scoring opportunities.

Earlier this year the No. 9 Hawks had tied and loss to the No. 4 Lions.

"We tried to pressure in certain areas and contain their talent as much as we could," stated Halapir on the adjustments and substitutions Laurier made throughout the game.

Keeper Yousef El-Abbar (Kitchener, Ont.) made some key saves in the contest including a header in the 78th minute of play which could have been the game.

Laurier last held the Blackwood Trophy above their heads in 2000 on route to the team's first ever national title. The following season the Hawks claimed their second national title.

"The team effort from everyone this weekend was incredible," commented third year player and co-captain Ben Clifford (Milton, Ont.). "Everyone gave it all they had and we were the underdogs and we ended up taking two of the best teams in Canada."

Laurier and York have earned berths to the CIS Championship, as well as host Carleton, who won the OUA bronze medal game 3-0 over the Toronto Varsity Blues.

Ravens veteran OUA All-Star defender Ahmad Berjawi (Ottawa, Ont.) scored twice at the 45th and 83rd minutes and rookie striker Caki Simrooglu (Izmir, Turkey) scored at the 60th minute to earn the Ravens a bronze medal.

Karl Wasslen (Ottawa, Ont.) earned the shutout victory in Carleton's net as he played 85 minutes and rookie Alexander Fait (Ottawa, Ont.) got into the goal to gain his first OUA post-season experience.

The CIS Championship will be held at Carleton University from Nov. 6 to Nov. 9.

– OUA –

ABOUT ONTARIO UNIVERSITY ATHLETICS

Ontario University Athletics (OUA) and its 19 member institutions are developing Champions For Life. Giving 9,000 student-athletes the opportunity to excel academically and on the playing field, while preparing for life after university. For more information, visit OUA.ca.

Photo Credit: Michael P. Hall
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