Laurier 0 @ McMaster 2
Guelph, ON - rival from down the road in London nor the remnants of a dissipating hurricane could prevent the Guelph Gryphons men's soccer team from advancing in the OUA playoffs. The Guelph men, playing under the breezy mist from Patricia that blanketed the Gryphon Soccer Complex, dominated the visiting Western Mustangs in a 3-0 win Wednesday night. Captain Justin Springer strapped his teammates on his back, anchoring the backline and contributing two huge goals. Substitute Atchuthan Sivananthan also scored after looking incredibly dangerous from the moment he stepped on the pitch early in the second half.
It was a complete performance from the Gryphons, who entered the playoffs ranked fourth in the West with a 9-5-2 record during the OUA regular season. The chances came early but it wasn't until the second half of the scoreless tie that they began their offensive breakthrough, bagging three goals in under half an hour to send the Mustangs crashing out of the post season.
"We felt that once we got one, we would get three or four," said head coach Keith Mason, elated with the showing by his men. "We were dominant. We played them twice in the regular season and did not win but we dominated in both those matches, as well. We just needed to finish our chances."
The onslaught began in the 57th minute when Springer headed home a cross from veteran winger Ethan Danielli, who also assisted on the captain's second of the night. It was the moment Guelph had been waiting for after creating a series of scoring opportunities in the first half, many from rookie Tomasz Skublak.
With Western reeling from the opener, second-year right back Calvin Witzell unleashed a strike from the right wing that goalkeeper Ben Cowan valiantly parried off of the crossbar. But Sivnanthan made his way into the six-yard box and coolly deposited the rebound to up the lead to 2-0 in the 74th minute.
Springer capped his memorable night by muscling into the box and getting a foot on Danieli's skillful corner, a late goal that guaranteed the result for the far superior Gryphons.
"He was brilliant," Mason said of his captain. "There is no other word. He was unbeatable in the back and then converted on set pieces."
Keeper Braden Taylor had little to do in the Guelph goal, though he was called upon to make a few key saves when Western started the second half on the front foot. Aside from that one serious spell for the Mustangs, the Gryphons dictated play most of the match. In the first half, Skublak had four clear chances, including a strike that sailed over the net, a heavy touch that prevented him from going in alone on Cowan, a long effort that went wide after the Western keeper bungled an outlet pass and then a miss on a volley from inside the six-yard box.
"On another day, he may have had a hat trick in the first half," Mason said of Skublak.
Guelph also seemed poised to be awarded a penalty late in the opening half but Ben Jackson was actually given a yellow for simulation despite looking like a Western defender made contact with him in the area.
Up next for the Gryphons, an OUA Quarter-final matchup with the No. 3 team in the country in the York Lions. The Lions topped the OUA West at 13-1-2, while scoring an OUA-high 47 goals and conceding a league-low eight. The Gryphons and Lions will square off on Sunday, November 1 with kickoff at York Stadium set for 4pm.
Source: Guelph Gryphons
KINGSTON, Ont. (October 28, 2015)- For the fourth-straight season, the Queen's Gaels men's soccer team has qualified for the OUA quarter-finals, topping the UOIT Ridgebacks 2-1 on a wet Wednesday afternoon at Miklas-McCarney Field in their divisional playoff match.
With the victory, the men will now travel to Toronto on Sunday afternoon to take on the OUA East second-seeded U of T Varsity Blues, with a ticket to the OUA Final Four up for grabs.
With both a wind and rainfall warning in effect throughout Kingston and the surrounding area, the teams had the challenge of a very slick surface at Miklas-McCarney Field that raised the acceleration of the ball as well as powerful gusts that played tricks on various aerial trajectories. It was the hosts who would strike first early in the contest, as Victoria, B.C. native Chris Wellsman's shot from outside the penalty area took a favourable deflection off a Ridgeback player and snuck behind UOIT goalkeeper Travis Martin in the 10th minute.
Sam Abernathy (Halifax, Ont.) doubled the Gael advantage just lead five minutes later with a well-placed low shot that skipped across the wet turf and found the left corner just inside of the post. Queen's two-goal advantage would be short-lived, however, as the Ridgebacks responded just over 10 minutes after Abernathy's marker to close the gap.
Erik Petrovic found some space just a few yards out from the top of the box off a broken down play, and his well-paced shot went just beyond the fingertips of Taylor Reynolds (Kingston) and into the low right corner, bringing the visitors within a goal of evening the match at the 26-minute mark of the opening half.
The Gaels had a number of opportunities to add an insurance marker early on in the second half. After Martin made a sharp-angle stop on his near post, the rebound was sent just wide of the opposite goal just moments into the second-half. Patrick van Belleghem (Kenora, Ont.) had two chances widen Queen's lead, but had his attempts denied by Martin on both attempts.
The Ridgebacks pressed for more scoring chances of their own in the latter stages, but the Gael defense denied any open shots for UOIT, whose best opportunity came on a free-kick from the 25-yard line. Fabio Campoli's curving drive sailed a little high, bouncing off the top of the Queen's crossbar and away from harm.
"With the weather warnings here we did plan to be a little simpler with our play," said Head Coach Christian Hoefler. "UOIT is always well-organized, they've got some pace up top, and their keeper made some solid saves. They deserve credit, they battled us. We were able to come through and I'm really proud of our guys. We're struggling with injuries right now, so this gives us a few days to heal and get ready for Toronto."
"Toronto's always been a well-coached side, so we're going to do our studying as we have been doing all season, and have full-belief going into Sunday that we can achieve our goal of qualifying for the OUA Final Four"
BY THE NUMBERS
4- The number of successive years Queen's has qualified for the conference quarter-finals
5- The number of saves by Gaels keeper Taylor Reynolds
The Gaels will take on the Varsity Blues this Sunday at 3:15 p.m. in the OUA quarter-finals. The teams split the season series, with Toronto shutting out Queen's 3-0 in Kingston on September 5, and the Gaels responding with a 2-1 win at Varsity Centre on September 19.
Source: Queen's Gaels