The UTM men’s varsity soccer team played the Fanshawe Falcons in the quarterfinal game of the OCAA Provincials last Thursday, October 25. The winner of this game would advance to the semifinals against the Humber Hawks the following day.

The game didn’t begin in UTM’s favour with a really early goal by Fanshawe two minutes into the game. Fanshawe scored off of a corner kick where UTM failed to clear the ball. UTM goalkeeper, Aaron Peters, made a save but was unsuccessful with stopping the rebound. This early goal was deadly for UTM as it gave Fanshawe a huge boost of confidence and left UTM feeling flustered and angry.

At the 29th minute, Peters made an unbelievable save by jumping backwards and tipping the ball just over the net to avoid a second goal. The Fanshawe team was solid from keeper to striker and were using their height to beat UTM to almost every ball in the air. Often times they would body the UTM men off the ball which resulted in a lot of reckless fouls for UTM. Three yellow cards were given out to UTM players in the first half because of this. However, the UTM men still continued to battle hard to get a goal before the end of the half but unfortunately could not. The half ended 1-0.

The second half started very similar to the first with an early Fanshawe goal once again. A give-and-go at the top of the UTM box allowed for a one-v-one with Peters where the Fanshawe player buried it in the back of the net, giving his team a 2-0 lead.

With UTM now down by two goals, the men became desperate for a spot on the scoreboard. Defenders, Damian Koscielniak and Adam Czerkawski, were making runs from the backline as an attempt to get more men on the attack, but UTM was still unable to score.

A long ball played by the Fanshawe centre back to his striker led to another one-v-one with Peters where he was unable to shut it down. The game was now 3-0 for Fanshawe with roughly 25 minutes left.

Just when UTM fans thought the men were out of the match for sure, Koscielniak makes a beautiful cross where Czerkawski was there to head it perfectly into the right corner. Finally, UTM made it onto the scoreboard with the game at 3-1.

After this goal, UTM amped up the pressure in the attacking end by getting countless opportunities to score another goal or possibly two. With Czerkawski pushed up in the attack, he was creating several chances for his team to bury one. Unfortunately, this UTM goal came too late in the game and the men were unable to tie it up. The game ended 3-1 for Fanshawe, leaving UTM to play the Niagara College Knights the following day for the semi-final consolation.

UTM defeated Niagara with a 4-0 win, advancing them to the consolation final for fifth and sixth place on Saturday, October 27. The men unfortunately lost 4-3 against the Durham College Lords after an exciting match that went to penalty kicks.

“The performance of the team overall was good,” says Assistant Coach, Gio MacDonald. “Unfortunately, we had a few mental lapses that led to goals against us but despite the scores in each game, I think our overall performance was good. And I think after working on a few things we’ll look to continue to improve each time we play.” He adds that he is looking forward to the indoor season starting next semester.

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