TORONTO (CIS) – The York University Lions will get the chance to defend their national title on home turf thanks to a nail-biting 1-0 (5-4 kicks) victory over the UBC Thunderbirds in their semifinal match at the 2015 CIS men's soccer national championship on Saturday night at York Stadium in Toronto.
York goalkeeper Colm Vance of Bradford, Ont., made a huge save on UBC's first kicker, Milad Mehrabi of Coquitlam, B.C., and then all five Lions scored on their shots to lead the hosts to victory. With the game on his foot in the final round, Dena Iezady of Richmond Hill, Ont., stepped up to the spot and put the ball bar-down into the net to secure the win.
"It feels great," said Vance, who was named York's player of the match at its conclusion. "I did my part for the team but I have to give credit to my teammates, they scored every single one. I'm doing my part and they are doing theirs."
"Words can't even describe how I feel right now," added Iezady. "It was an excellent performance from all the guys, especially going down by a man. But we stuck in there and we believed, and we ended up winning which feels amazing."
The Lions will now play for their second straight CIS championship, and fourth in the last eight years, against the UNB Varsity Reds in Sunday's final at 2 p.m., while the Thunderbirds will battle the UQAM Citadins for the bronze medal at 11 a.m. UNB is playing in its first final since last winning the title in 1980.
The game was a chippy affair between the top two ranked teams in the CIS, featuring eight yellow cards, two red cards and 43 total fouls. The Lions went down to 10 men just before the end of regulation when Matt Arnone of Woodbridge, Ont., was shown his second yellow card of the match and ejected, but they did not have to play shorthanded for long as Adriano Clemente of Burnaby, B.C., was handed his second yellow in the 107th minute and was also sent off.
The best scoring chance of the first half went to the Lions in the 35th minute. Jarek Whiteman of Brampton, Ont., was fouled and earned a free kick, which was taken by Jonathan Lao of Unionville, Ont. Arnone found the ball in the air and headed it toward the net, but it bounced off the bottom of the crossbar and UBC goalkeeper Chad Bush of Ottawa cleared it out of harm's way.
At the start of the second half the Lions got lucky when Arnone dragged down a UBC player just inches outside the 18-yard box. The Thunderbirds were awarded a free kick instead of a penalty kick, and Gagandeep Dosanjh's shot went just past the post.
The Lions had more chances than the Thunderbirds in the second half but could not find the net. In the 67th minute Iezady had a header sail just high, and in the 83rd minute Lao had a glorious chance but his shot hit the crossbar.
UBC's closest chance at a goal was in the 80th minute but Vance made a great diving save to his left to push the ball wide.
The 30 minutes of overtime were about equal as both teams had a few chances but were mostly hesitant to make a mistake and concede a goal.
UBC midfielder and team captain Harry Lakhan of Surrey, B.C., earned his team's player of the game award.
YOR 0-0-0-0: 1 (5-4 kicks)
UBC 0-0-0-0: 0
Extra Time (2 x 15 mins - no golden goal)
UBC Milad Mehrabi, saved (Colm Vance)
YOR Jarek Whiteman, goal
UBC Harry Lakhan, goal
YOR Jonathan Lao, goal
UBC Sean Einarsson, goal
YOR Michael Cox, goal
UBC Justin Wallace, goal
YOR Benjamin Futoriansky, goal
UBC Gagandeep Dosanjh, goal
YOR Dena Iezady, goal
YOR: Colm Vance (W, 0 GA, 6 saves, 120:00, 2-0)
UBC: Chad Bush (L, 0 GA, 6 saves, 120:00, 1-1)
Shots: YOR 21, UBC 12
Shots on net: YOR 6, UBC 6
Corners: YOR 2, UBC 8
Fouls: YOR 22, UBC 21
Yellow cards: YOR (Michael Cox, Benjamin Futoriansky), UBC (Nike Azuma, Harry Lakhan)
Red cards: YOR (Matt Arnone – 2 yellow cards), UBC (Adriano Clemente – 2 yellow cards)
Players of the game:
YOR Colm Vance
UBC Harry Lakhan
SCHEDULE & RESULTS
Thursday, Nov. 12
11:00 Quarter-final 1: UQAM 2, McMaster 1 (4-3 kicks)
13:30 Quarter-final 2: UNB 3, Victoria 2
16:00 Quarter-final 3: UBC 3, Toronto 0
19:00 Quarter-final 4: York 4, Cape Breton 1
Friday, Nov. 13
11:00 Consolation 1: McMaster 2, Victoria 1
13:30 Consolation 2: Cape Breton 3, Toronto, 0
Saturday, Nov. 14
11:00 Semifinal 1: UNB 3, UQAM 2 (OT)
13:30 Semifinal 2: YOR 1, UBC 0 (5-4 kicks)
16:00 5th-place game: McMaster vs. Cape Breton (CIS-SIC.tv)
Sunday, Nov. 15
11:00 Bronze medal: UQAM vs. UBC (CIS-SIC.tv)
14:00 Championship final: UNB vs. York (CIS-SIC.tv)