Posted: Oct 31, 2008
It is a battle of the birds in Game 1 of the Final Four tournament. The Carleton Ravens take on the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks in semi-final action Saturday at 11 a.m.
The Ravens, ranked No. 1 in the country, have a record of 13-1-1 against OUA competition. The Ravens look to Canada's top goal scorer, Matthew D'Angelo (Ottawa, Ont.) to continue their four-game win streak. Carleton's only loss this season was a 1-0 defeat at the hands of the Toronto Varsity Blues. Quarter-final action saw Carleton walk over the Ryerson Rams 4-0 to advance.
No. 9-ranked Wilfrid Laurier (8-3-4) is led by OUA West Coach of the Year, Mario Halapir. Last season the Hawks were eliminated by the Windsor Lancers in the first round of the playoffs. Laurier has not won the Blackwood Cup since 2000. Hugo Hernandez (Markham, Ont.) is Laurier's lead scoring threat. In a very close game, the Hawks needed a shootout to defeat the Western Mustangs 4-3 in the OUA quarter-finals.
Saturday's second game gets underway at 1:30 p.m. when the York Lions host cross-town rivals the Toronto Varsity Blues.
York has home field advantage as host of the 2008 OUA Championship. Ranked fourth in the nation, the Lions look to improve on their 10-4-1 record and defend their 2007 provincial title, their first since 1977. York's top four goal scorers, Francesco Bruno (Toronto, Ont.), Adrian Pena (Woodbridge, Ont.), Jarek Whiteman (Brampton, Ont.) and Douglas Sereti (Toronto, Ont.) are all ranked in the Top 10 in OUA scoring. York easily defeated the Brock Badgers 4-0 in quarter-final play to advance to the Final Four.
No. 6 Toronto (11-1-3) is the only team this season to successfully triumph over the Ravens. Led in scoring by rookie and First Team All-Star Niko Pesa (Burlington, Ont.), the Blues have improved over last season when they were eliminated in the quarter-finals. Taking the lead 2-1 in the second half of their quarter-final match the Blues defence was able to maintain their poise and kept the visiting Laurentian Voyageurs at bay, winning 2-1.
Sunday sees the semi-final losing teams battle for provincial bronze at 11:30 a.m., followed by the OUA final at 2 p.m.
Ontario University Athletics, with the support of SSN Canada and York University, will be webcasting all four games of the men's OUA Soccer Final Four Championships. To watch live visit www.oua.ca/webcasts/.
November 1, 2008 – Semi-Finals @ York
11:00 a.m. Laurier vs. Carleton
1:30 p.m. Toronto vs. York
November 2, 2008 – Finals @ York
11:30 a.m. Semi-Final Losers (Bronze Medal)
2:00 p.m. Semi-Final Winners (OUA Final)
– OUA –
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Photo Credit: Michael P. Hall