U Sports Soccer: Ravens take flight, win OUA championship

It was championship weekend at York University with the men’s soccer team taking over Alumni Stadium for a couple of days.

The York Lions, who finished first in the OUA after the regular season, came into the weekend expecting, not only hoping for the trophy to be lifted on their home turf. Throughout the regular season, York had posted wins of eight and nine goals, but they met their match in the OUA final four.

In the semi-final, as recapped by 49, the Lions dominated the University of Toronto Varsity Blues, defeating their cross-town rivals 2-0. In the final, up against the Carleton Ravens for the second year in a row, they fell 3-0.

The loss was significant in many ways as it ended multiple streaks for the Lions. The streak of two consecutive OUA championships was unable to be extended and their 52 games unbeaten streak against OUA opponents also vanished.

The performance was dismal for the Lions who will have to regroup and reinvigorate themselves before travelling to Montreal to take part in this season’s U Sports men’s soccer championship.

It’s been a long time since Carleton last hoisted the OUA trophy with their last championship coming in 2005. They have been regular participants at the national tournament, but have never one. They have come close, making the finals in both 1994 and 2002, but this special team will do their best to take that extra step.

With the OUA final and the Canadian Premier League final happening concurrently, Saturday afternoon had the potential to be historic. With Carleton winning, it gave Raven’s forward Gabriel Bitar the opportunity to win two championships on the same day. He did all he could, winning the OUA with the Ravens, but his CPL teammates at Cavalry FC were unable to get the job done against Forge FC of Hamilton, leaving Bitaw with only one championship from the day.

The two teams have yet to be assigned their draws for the national championship, but with matchplay kicking off Wednesday afternoon, that information will become available in the near future.

In the 2018 nationals in Vancouver, BC, neither team was able to advance past the semi-final round.

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