MSOC | Voyageurs' Season Ends in Overtime Heartbreak

Photo by Seyran Mammadov
Photo by Seyran Mammadov

The Laurentian Voyageurs men's soccer playoff run ended in the first round with a 1-0 loss to the University of Toronto Varsity Blues in extra time.

The Varsity Blues came out firing on all cylinders as just a minute and a half into the match, a header from Jack Wadden hit the crossbar and almost gave the Varsity Blues their first lead of the game. However, one theme of this playoff match was the spectacular defence of the Voyageurs who time and time again thwarted countless scoring opportunities of the Varsity Blues. Most notably, the marvelous defensive play of Liam Ezzard prevented the Varisty Blues to get multiple tallies on the scoreboard. One play that stands out came at the 32:10 minute mark of the match when Jack Wadden chipped the ball toward an empty Voyageur net but a determined Liam Ezzard cleared the ball at the goal line and sent it out of play for a corner kick. Next, the resulting corner kick yielded a good goal scoring opportunity that came courtesy of a courageous bicycle kick but in the end it went high for a goal kick. Moving on, approximately four minutes later, the Varsity Blues attempted another offensive to score; this time from a free kick by Anthony Sousa that forces Voyageurs' goalkeeper Connor Vande Weghe to make an impressive save. Shortly after this save, in the 43rd minute, the Voyageurs found themselves in their best scoring opportunity yet when four players passed the ball amongst themselves and around the goalkeeper, searching  for the best angle to shoot but ultimately, this attack was snuffed out by the defence and the Voyageurs earned  a corner kick. However, the Voyageurs were unable to score from the resulting corner kick. Finally, in the dying minutes of the half, Roman Lovrencec sent a good cross into the penalty box which forces one of the defenders to make dicing clearance that Alam it out the ball at the back of the net but to the delight of Varsity Blues, the clearance sailed high. Nothing would come of the resulting corner kick and the first half would come to a close with both teams tied at 0-0

The second half started in the same manner the first did, with the Varsity Blues pressing to get the tally of the match, but the Voyageur defence matched them play by play. The Voyageurs though would get some good scoring opportunities, for instance, Carver Grenon attempted a good shot on Gail in the 57th minute that was blocked went out of play. Once again, the Voyageurs would be unable to score from the resulting corner kick. These two teams would trade a number of goal scoring opportunities for the rest of the half but none would be able to  find the back of the net. A few notable plays that's occurred during this time period came via Anthony Sousa of Toronto and Connor Vande Weghe and Graeme McLean of Laurentian. Anthony Sousa rung the post at the 66:54 mark of the match whereas Connor Vande Weghe made a spectacular diving save to deny Jack Wadden his and his team's first goal of the playoffs. In similar fashion, Graeme McLean also rose to the occasion and prevented what looked like a sure goal for the Voyageurs. The ball was sent toward an empty from the Varsity Blues but McLean with a determined run tracked it down cleared it off the goal line to keep the match scoreless. Consequently, riding high from this save, the Voyageurs managed to mount one final offensive before the final whistle was to be blown as an incoming cross force the Varsity Blues goalkeeper ta make a good save from the goal line. Neither team would be able to score t the end of regulation and the match went into extra time.

The extra time saw the Voyageurs come out and press for the opening goal. Jacob Gramegna shot a rocket toward goal in the fourth minute of extra time but nothing came of it. Into the 18th minute of extra time, Laurentian got their best opportunity to score but the call went just high above the post. The first half o extra time would come to an end with both sides locked at 0-0.

The second half of extra time began with a pair of substitutions from Toronto and a shot from Evan Stronach that went just high. Then, at the 109:53 minute mark of the match, the Varsity Blues found the go ahead goal courtesy of Jack Wadden with an assist from Nikola Stakic.  Following this goal, the Voyageurs gratuitous intensified their offensive pressure while the Varsity Blues committed to defending their one goal advantage. Zef Kraja would get one of the last potential scoring opportunities in the sting minutes of the match from a long throw in but nothing came of it and the Voyageurs' season came to an end with a 1-0 loss to Toronto Varsity Blues.

 

Wali Khan