AROUND OUA: Rams set to host OUA Final Four; Gryphons, Blues and Lions also advance

AROUND OUA: Rams set to host OUA Final Four; Gryphons, Blues and Lions also advance

SCOREBOARD

Queen's 0 @ Ryerson 1

McMaster 1 @ Guelph 3

Carleton 1 @ Toronto 2

Western 0 @ York 3

Rams fight through adversity to reach Final Four

TORONTO - The No. 3 nationally ranked Ryerson Rams men's soccer team had to fight their way through the OUA East semifinal but eventually emerged victorious with a 1-0 extra time win over the Queen's Gaels to reach the OUA Final Four.

Nearly everything that could happen in this game happened. Rams all-star centreback Kyle Stewart had to leave the game after a scary collision wounded him, only to return bandaged and motivated. In overtime, the reigning OUA MVP was awarded a penalty kick but Raheem Rose was stopped by the Queen's keeper. Later in overtime, rookie sensation Robert Boskovic was sent off with a red card and the Rams were forced to play the rest of the extra frame a man down. Then, the Rams found their leading scorer in Jaime Baker who netted home the game's only goal.

There was no shortage of drama, that's for sure. 

"We've talked about adversity and how to deal with it, to expect it, and how we're going to deal with it when it comes. And man, it came today. A tight playoff game in overtime, that's one thing. Then a player sent off, missing a PK, and then down a man scoring. There's something to be said about an adverse team," said head coach Filip Prostran following the game.

Ryerson held the majority of possession and scoring chances throughout the game but Queen's held their own and kept the Rams off the score sheet through regulation.

Both teams had their chances in extra time but it was Andrew Dias who sent a cross in from the left wing for Baker to head home to open the scoring. 

With the lead and a man down, Ryerson used their final substitutions to solidify their defensive line. The move paid off, as Queen's pressed to find an equalizer but were unabe to get one past Rams keeper, Praveen Ahilan.

The win sends the Rams back to the OUA Final Four championship tournament for the fifth straight year. As the top seed in the east division, Ryerson will host the championship on November 5-6 at Birchmount Park.

Despite not playing a game at Birchmount this season, the Rams are hoping good fortunes stay with them next weekend.

"We've got good omens there - last time we qualified for the national tournament was there so that's why we chose it," said Prostran.

The Rams will face the second seed from the west division, the Guelph Gryphons, at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday.

Soure: Ryerson Rams

Gryphons win 3-1 over rival Marauders, advance to Final Four

GUELPH, ON - For the Gryphons men's soccer team, the two regular season matches versus McMaster, both of which ended in draws, left the Gryphons feeling frustrated. On Sunday afternoon, those feelings were replaced with satisfaction. Guelph won 3-1 over the Marauders on Sunday at the Gryphon Soccer Complex in an OUA Quarterfinal matchup. With the result, the Gryphons are moving on to the OUA Final Four.

The last time these two teams met at the Gryphon Soccer Complex was way back on September 2nd in what was the Gryphons home opener. That day, Mac was able to hold the Gryphons high-powered offence scoreless in a game that finished in a 0-0 draw. On Sunday afternoon however, the Gryphons were able to get on the board in the game's opening two minutes. Off of a Gryphons corner, the Marauders were unable to clear the ball with several Gryphons in the area threatening to score, it would be Gryphons fifth year captain Justin Springer getting the last touch to put his side out 1-0 early on. A few minutes later, the Gryphons would double their lead.

After a reckless challenge by McMaster, the Gryphons were awarded a free kick from just outside the 18-yard box. Rookie sensation Alex Zis would step up and curl home a perfectly placed free kick into the top corner to give the Gryphons a 2-0 lead with just six minutes gone in the match. In the 21st minute, the Marauders came close to making it a 2-1 game after a glorious chance on a McMaster corner, but Gryphons keeper Ben Caranci was able to come up with a diving stop to keep the Gryphons two-goal lead intact. In the 32nd minute, the Gryphons lead would grow to 3-0.

Second year winger Youssef Zaghloul would tuck the ball past McMaster's keeper to all but seal the win for the Gryphons. McMaster would spoil the clean sheet with a goal late in regulation, but the Gryphons would use their huge first half outburst to carry them into the OUA Final Four. After the match, Gryphons head coach Keith Mason was pleased with his teams' performance, "The guys have a lot of confidence right now and helps fuel our self-belief that we can in fact win the big games. We have a lot of young players in key roles who have not been on this stage before, so we're learning on the go. But I'm extremely happy and I could not have asked for a better performance today from my boys." 

The Gryphons now advance to the OUA Final Four, where they will face the No. 1 seed from the OUA East Division, the Ryerson Rams. The Rams, the No. 3-ranked team in the country, finished the regular season with a 14-1-1 record and defeated Queen's in extra time to earn a spot in the conference semifinals. The Gryphons will travel to Toronto to face the Rams on Saturday, November 5th with the winner booking a spot in the OUA Championship game.

Source: Guelph Gryphons

Blues book Final Four ticket with win over Ravens

The No. 5 University of Toronto Varsity Blues are once again off to the OUA Final Four after defeating the Carleton Ravens 2-1 Sunday afternoon (Oct. 30) at Varsity Stadium.

After surviving an early scare in the opening minutes with a Carleton goal called back due to an offside flag, the Blues tightened up defensively preventing any further chances through the remainder of the first half.

On the other side of the pitch, U of T nearly broke the early stalemate in the 35th minute as captain Lukas MacNaughton was able to send the ball to the far post off a header setting up fellow defender David Colelli who sent his effort just over the crossbar.

However, Colelli would not be denied as he pinched up to convert a Nikolay Saveliev cross in the 44th minute with a pin-point header to put the Blues ahead 1-0 at the break.
 
Five minutes into the second half Toronto nearly added to their lead as a cross in front of Ravens goalkeeper David Monk created an opportunity which was thwarted by a Carleton defender well positioned on the goal line.

The early second half chances for the Blues were then equaled by the Ravens with midfielder Alex Decouvreur capitalizing in the 73rd minute with a strong strike to even the score 1-1.

Sloppy play by Weber Bourjolly in the 80th minute resulted in a second yellow card of the match for the Carleton defender forcing the Ravens to play shorthanded for the remainder of the contest.

U of T would need just one minute to take advantage as Saveliev finished his incredible quarter-final performance with a beautiful free kick that went bar down securing the game-winning goal for the Blues.
 
Toronto goalkeeper Mark Rogal finished the day with several strong clearances and one save while Monk registered two saves for the Ravens.

With the victory the Varsity Blues will now face the No. 1 York Lions in OUA semi-final action next weekend. Ryerson will host the OUA Final Four as the highest seed in the East.

Source: Toronto Varsity Blues

Lions top Mustangs to advance to OUA Final Four

The undefeated and No. 1 nationally-ranked York University Lions men's soccer team took down the Western Mustangs 3-0 in their OUA quarter-final match at Alumni Field on Sunday (Oct. 30) to advance to the Final Four Championships for the seventh straight year.
 
The first half of the match was highlighted by the defensive efforts of both the Lions and the Mustangs. York seemed to be carrying themselves with an attack mentality and did have some solid opportunities to light up the scoreboard. The aggressive offensive mentality was met with frequent walls of Mustang defenders in Western's end.
 
The first half would end deadlocked with a score of 0-0.  
 
Early in the second half, the Mustangs missed out on an easy chance to take the lead when a Mustang forward fired a pass past York goalkeeper Andrew D'Souza's (Mississauga, Ont.) face to his teammate for a one-timer attempt. However, the shot attempt was stopped when a York defender kicked the ball away just before it crossed the goal line.
 
Part way through the second half the Lions received their closest chance yet to score when a loose ball rolled through Western's box with both Milan Beader (Oakville, Ont.) and Ryan Telfer (Mississauga, Ont.) sliding in to try and chip the ball past Western goalkeeper Kody Thomson. Both attempts fell just short, but Thomson would begin to feel the pressure.
 
The bend-but-don't-break philosophy that Western played with in the match ultimately failed them in the final 13 minutes as the Lions would score all three of their goals in that time-span.
 
They finally broke the deadlock in the 77th minute when Thomson faltered by choosing not to attack a cross from York midfielder Steve Kloutsouniotis (Markham, Ont.) that led to a beautiful finish from Milan Beader (Oakville, Ont.) as he kicked the hanging ball out of the air and into the net for a 1-0 lead.
 
Beader didn't stop there, as six minutes later he found the back of the net once again when Telfer chipped the ball to him in the box; he gained control off of his chest and slid the ball past Thomson off of his left foot.
 
The Lions would continue to pour it on offensively as Kloutsouniotis added a goal to his stat line. He showed off his ball control and touch when he chipped the ball over Thomson from the right side of the net to round out the scoring.
 
Next weekend's OUA Final Four Championships will be hosted by the Ryerson Rams at Birchmount Stadium in Toronto, and for the third straight year, the Lions will face the Toronto Varsity Blues in the semifinals on Saturday (Nov. 5).

Source: York Lions