UTM vs. Mohawk College - Playoff Qualifier; Soccer Game Recap - October 24th , 2015

UTM Men's Soccer versus Mohawk College - OCAA Playoff Qualifier (Oct 24th)

(OCTOBER 24TH) – The University of Toronto Varsity Eagles Men’s soccer team has accomplished a feat players and coaches could only dream of before their inaugural OCAA season began. The Eagle’s went to Redeemer and played Mohawk College (5-3-2) in the team’s qualifying game, winning 2-1 and qualifying for the 2015 OCAA Provincial Championship.

The boys in blue were cheered on by the exuberant UTM faithful who made the trip along with the team. Their loud and encouraging voices may have had something to do with UTM never backing down throughout the entire 90 minutes.

Right away, with the wind in their face, the Eagles controlled the ball limiting the chances of the advantaged Mohawk squad.

In the opening minutes, the team’s backbone defender Giovanni McDonald injured his ankle on the slippery turf. Even with Giovanni absent the defense stepped up and held their ground. Dimitrios Gogos was an exceptionally good defender, using his speed and skill to keep the ball away from Mohawks forwards. Giovanni returned later in the game and limited Mohawk chances with his aggressive physical style of play.

The game was played mostly between the 18-yard boxes throughout the first half than in the second-half something switched for both sides. A Mohawk forward had a free kick at the 51st-minute mark where the ball hit UTM goalie Josh Bowman in the hands. The ball ricocheted onto the foot of Mohawks Grant Slater, who hit it into the open net, leading his team to a 1-0 score. 

One minute later UTM’s Josh Iskra responded after a nice feed from UTM’s Eddy Dabire, putting the momentum back on the Eagles side. With the wind to their advantage, the Eagles were able to keep the ball into Mohawk territory putting pressure on defenders. Alvin Powell capitalized off the Giovanni unsuccessful shot giving the Eagles their first lead at the 78th-minute mark.

Mohawk didn’t have anything in the tank for the rest of the game and UTM came away with the much-deserved victory.

Eagle’s head coach Robert Brown was very pleased with his team’s effort. “The team’s will to out hustle and determination to outplay their opponents was the reason for the victory”. Also, Brown believes the only advantage the wind played in the second half was for goaltender Josh Bowman’s goal kicks other than that skill had everything to do with their win.

The team now prepares for the OCAA Championships.  Their 1st game takes place on Thursday at 3 pm against Algonquin (7-0-3). With only eight teams remaining from the 18 team league, UTM inches their way closer to becoming the best team in the province. They must first defeat the undefeated leaders from the East division Algonquin Thunder who are currently ranked #4 in Canada.