The Laurentian Voyageurs were up against one of the elite soccer teams in the country as they took on the Carleton Ravens on Saturday. The Voyageurs had an impressive outing against the third ranked team in Canada as they held them scoreless until the 93rd minute of the match when the Ravens scored the only goal of the game via a free kick.
The theme of this match was the stellar Voyageur defence as they defended wave after wave of Ravens' attacks. Even though ball possession in the first half was even between the two teams, the Ravens created more scoring opportunities. The Voyageurs too had goal scoring opportunities but they were few and far between. In the 12th minute of the game, the Ravens came quite close to scoring the opening goal of the game through a free kick but were unable to convert. The half would then come to a close with the scores all level at 0-0.
The Ravens intensified their offensive pressure in the second half as they looked to score the opening marker of the game. Just two minutes in, the Ravens went on a breakaway but Adam Scanlon brushed away the scoring attempt. In the 54th minute, the Voyageurs received a good scoring opportunity when a shot deflected off a Ravens player only to find the cleat of another Voyageur who put it just past the post. The second half would continue and Ravens would further push in their quest for the go-ahead goal but once again the Voyageur defence would stand their ground and deny them any opportunities. However, in the dying minutes of the match, the Ravens managed to get three good goal scoring chances, none of which they succeeded in putting the back at the back of the net. One shot rang off the post but the goal scoring opportunity came in the 93rd minute when the Ravens earned a free kick near the edge of the penalty box. Gabriel Bitar would step up and deposit the ball at the back of the net to break the hearts of Voyageurs and their fans.
The Voyageurs were disappointed after this result but hold their heads up high since they went toe to toe with the best team in their division. This sentiment was perfectly described Captain Nicholas Correa in his post-game comments: "I thought the whole game we were doing a good job defending them. I mean we weren't really giving them any opportunities like that and there was one unlucky bounce. We got into a wall. The wall did a good job getting up. They actually got their head on it. And 90% of the time if the wall touches it, it's not going towards goal but the 10% of the time that it does, it gets a deflection, it throws the goalie off and they score, so I mean we could put our heads down and just feel bad about it or we can just pick it up, realize we lost to the top 3 team in the nation and just look forward to tomorrow but it's unfortunate, we definitely could have gotten a result out of this game."
Likewise, Jacob Gramegna took positive out of this match and looks forward to their next challenge against the Ontario Tech Ridgebacks: "It's obviously tough when you concede a goal like that in the 93rd minute. We worked so hard, 92 straight minutes, I thought, every player that was on the field worked as hard as they could. For a goal like that to go in the end, it's got to be tough but I am really proud of the boys; how we played against the third ranked team in the country; just that close to getting a point off them. For tomorrow, I really don't think we're going to change anything. Today, if anything, we understood the calibre of the opponent we're playing; number three ranked in the country as I said. We can change up and be a bit more assertive in possession and go forward with it a bit more often than we did today. I think [if] we come in with the same attitude, we should be fine in the game tomorrow. It was just unlucky today."
The Voyageurs next face off against the Ontario Tech Ridgebacks tomorrow at 2:15 pm.