The U of T men’s varsity soccer team got off to a blistering start to the 2010 CIS men’s championship at Varsity Stadium on Thursday evening.
The UQAM Citadins came out quick and aggressive, making two early slide tackles and being very physical right off the bat. The boys from Québec dictated the play in the beginning but their early progress was soon thwarted. In the first real chance for the Blues, striker Noro Gooden made a perfect cross from the endline to set up the first of three goals by veteran Alexander Raphael in the ninth minute. Immediately after the goal, the ball was played back to the UQAM goalie who made a mess of it, the ball slowly going wide of the net. Just like that, the early momentum from UQAM was lost.
An early battle was brewing between UQAM’s Marvin Omie and Noro Gooden. Omie was being very physical and was getting the better of the OUA First Team All-Star in the early goings, as the referee was intent on letting the boys play. But that soon changed. After receiving a pass, Noro Gooden fended off Omie and gave a bouncing through ball for Geoffrey Borgmann, who made no mistake to bring the Varsity Blues up two nothing. Geoffrey Borgmann celebrated with the great crowd on hand, full with clappers and a fan with a megaphone. It was a great atmosphere as fans were excited to cheer on their Varsity Blues.
At half-time the game was two-nothing. Two-nothing can be a dangerous lead sometimes, and with a very fast and very physical side like UQAM, this game was far from over. The Varsity Blues still had plenty of work to do.
Despite a slow start to the second half from both sides, a great chance was granted to Nicolas Bertrand of UQAM after the Varsity Blues defender misplayed a long ball. The chance was marvellous, as he only had the keeper to beat. From just outside the 18, a low hard drive was just barely saved by the foot of John Smits. It was a great opportunity for UQAM to quiet the large and energetic U of T crowd and to get within one goal of U of T, but they squandered it.
After that chance, U of T really showed why they were OUA champions. They were winning the majority of possession and showing a lot of skill, especially in the attacking third. Both teams had comparable defence and midfield, but the Blues were much more willing to make runs down the sideline and to really go after UQAM. Alexander Raphael scored two more goals to earn a hat trick, and Noro Gooden got himself in the goal column after setting up two goals in the first half. They scored three goals in the second half to and won the game 5-0.
The Blues played UBC on Saturday and eventually were defeated 3-0 in the CIS semi-final. They appeared in their second consecutive bronze-medal game yesterday against the Saint Mary’s Huskies as they lost to York in the other semi-final. The team was clearly disappointed, having been eager to play for the CIS Championship in front of their home fans. The team played hard and represented U of T excellently throughout the whole season, not just in these games.
The results of yesterday’s bronze -edal game can be seen in full at varsityblues.ca. Regardless of yesterday’s outcome, the Varsity Blues deserve congratulations for a great season.