Breaking down the results of the four quarterfinal matchups of the 2022 U SPORTS Men’s Soccer Championship
The 2022 U SPORTS Men’s Soccer championship got underway on Thursday with four quarterfinal matchups at Hillside Stadium in Kamloops, BC.
On Wednesday, 49 wrote about the X Factors that would decide each of these teams’ fates in the national championship. On Thursday, a lot of those predictions ended up proven right.
#2 Montreal Carabins 3 – 0 #7 StFX X-Men
The first game of the afternoon saw the RSEQ champion Montreal Carabins take on the AUS finalists, the StFX X-Men and really demonstrated why the Carabins program has picked up four consecutive gold or silver medals at nationals. The Carabins started strong, built throughout the game, and showed they were on a different level of play.
It started six minutes in as U SPORTS First Team All-Canadian Quentin Paumier curled a gorgeous free-kick into the top left corner to give the Carabins the early 1-0 lead.
To their credit, the X-Men tried to fight back. Freshman Cameron Shaw found space on the right corner of the box, but Montreal keeper Jordan Tisseur turned him away.
The score held 1-0 for Montreal at halftime, but things fell apart into the second half for the X-Men. A 58th-minute red card to StFX defender Ethan Larsen – a second yellow after a first yellow in the 31st minute – put StFX down to just ten X-Men. Montreal took advantage, ultimately outshooting the X-Men 13-0 in the second half.
They found the back of the net as well, first with Thierry Cote picking up the rebound and potting it in to get the 2-0 in the 67th minute before the Carabins took advantage of the undermanned StFX defence. Lohan Lefevre picked up the turnover and found Salim Eliasy, who buried it past Samuel Diltz to push the Montreal lead to 3-0, which was how the afternoon ended.
The reality for StFX was they were in a tough spot from the start. With Cameron Shaw’s 18th-minute shot being the only one to force a save from Jordan Tisseur on the day, the task turned out to be insurmountable.
Montreal moves on to play UBC in the semifinal, while StFX flip to the consolation side of the bracket for a matchup with the TMU Bold.
#3 UBC Thunderbirds 4 – 2 #6 TMU Bold
To understand what happened in that UBC vs TMU game, it can be said that in perhaps the most unsurprising correct call, the UBC Thunderbirds picked up their quarterfinal victory thanks to an unstoppable offensive performance.
The Thunderbirds entered their quarterfinal matchup against the TMU Bold with a pretty clear calling card, they were going to score, and they were going to score a lot.
With 44 goals in the Canada West regular season, the Thunderbirds ran away with the goal-scoring lead, and that meant for the TMU Bold, they needed a fast start, and they managed to pull that off.
Just seven minutes in, Mario McLennon’s cross found Faisal Ghaffur in the box, who headed it past Peter Whyte to give TMU the early 1-0 lead.
Just seven minutes later, though, UBC struck back as a free kick from Eric Lajeunesse landed in the TMU box and right on the foot of Daniel Kaiser, who only needed one touch to send it past Ali Ghazanfari to tie it at 1-1.
The first half quickly started to fall apart for TMU ten minutes later as Tristan Marshall’s weak clearing attempt was intercepted in the box by Nick Fussel, who promptly buried it to make it 2-1 for UBC. Barely three minutes later, Logan Chung found Victory Shumbusho left wide open in the box, and Shumbusho made no mistake to make it 3-1 for UBC barely 30 minutes in.
The score held at 3-1 into halftime, and into the second half, the Bold tried to mount a comeback, outshooting UBC 5-4 in the second half after being outshot 6-3 in the first. Justin Santos stepped up to the penalty spot in the 71st minute and buried it to make it 3-2 for UBC, but just eight minutes later, Tristan Nkoghe found space off the left side and slotted it past Ghanzafari to bump the lead back to 4-2 where it stayed until the final whistle.
With the win, the Thunderbirds now do advance to play the Carabins in the semifinal while the TMU Bold move over to the consolation side of the bracket to take on the X-Men.
#4 McMaster Marauders 1 – 1 (4-5) #5 Thompson Rivers Wolfpack
The first game on the other half of the bracket saw the McMaster Marauders take on the host Thompson Rivers Wolfpack in the primetime matchup. If Montreal vs StFX showed dominance, and UBC vs TMU showed excitement via offence, this matchup provided the first bit of true drama to the quarterfinals.
The Marauders vs the Wolfpack pitted a pair of teams that felt the most overlooked heading into the tournament. McMaster won the OUA title but benefitted by Nipissing upsetting the York Lions in the OUA quarterfinal to provide them with an easier path. As the host that lost early in the Canada West playoffs, Thompson Rivers had to deal with what every school in their position has had to go through, the argument that hosting was the only reason they deserved to be there.
Nevertheless, no matter how they arrived on the pitch at Hillside Stadium, both teams had the opportunity to advance to have a guaranteed shot at a medal.
49 wrote in our predictions that “If TRU wants a shot at a medal this weekend, [Jackson] Gardner will likely need to be their MVP.”
Yet on Thursday, it was almost the opposite as the Wolfpack, clearly buoyed by the Kamloops crowd, opened with complete offensive control, outshooting the Marauders 8-2 in the half and forcing McMaster keeper Ethan Cagalj to make several key stops.
Despite the pressure clearly leaning in one direction, McMaster opened the scoring as Miles Green sent a 28th-minute free-kick screaming past Jackson Gardner to make it 1-0 Marauders.
Late in the first half, though, Patrick Izett sent the free kick in and McMaster keeper Ethan Cagalj, finding himself stuck in no-man’s land trying to grab the ball, left the opportunity open for Jan Pirretas Glasmacher to slot it home and send the TRU crowd into hysterics.
In the second half, the Thompson Rivers offensive onslaught continued as they fired 10 shots at the McMaster goal and forced five saves out of Cagalj. Still, the keeper kept the Marauder in the game through 45 minutes of play in the second half and thirty minutes of extra time to penalties.
Penalties saw Amir Shirazi, Julian Sanchez and Ahmed Mansour pot goals for the Mauraders, but Justin Wood missed his chance. When Patrick Izett stepped up – after the first four Thompson Rivers’ kicks had found their way past Cagalj – he buried it and sent the Wolfpack into the semifinal with the 1-1 (4-5) victory.
The Wolfpack now move on to play the winner of the Cape Breton Capers and the UQTR Patriotes and sit one win away from a guaranteed medal in front of their home faithful.
On the other side, McMaster moves to the consolation bracket and takes on the loser of the Capers and the Patriotes.
#1 Cape Breton Capers 2 – 0 #8 UQTR Patriotes
The final matchup of the quarterfinal saw the AUS champions, the Cape Breton Capers, take on the RSEQ finalists, the UQTR Patriotes. Any game needing to follow up to the emotional win for Thompson Rivers in front of their home fans might have always been at risk of being “dull,”, especially as a #1 vs #8 seed. Still, Capers and Patriotes provided a riveting end to the first day in Kamloops.
Coming in as the #8 seed, the question for the UQTR Patriotes was whether their offence, which spent the 2022 season running hot and cold, could strike at the right time and in the first half, the Patriotes certainly put in the effort. UQTR fired nine shots at Cape Breton’s goal but ultimately only forced one save out of keeper Daniel Clarke. Still, the game went to halftime at 0-0 but with clear momentum for the Patriotes.
In the second half, though, Cape Breton finally broke through. In the 58th minute, Owen Shepard took a lead pass and chipped it over the head of Mathieu Lacharite to make it 1-0 for Cape Breton.
Just eight minutes later, Cian Lynch stepped up to the penalty spot and buried it past Lacharite to make it 2-0 for the Capers, and it was clear that it was over.
UQTR blasted another seven shots in the second half, outshooting Cape Breton 16-8 on the night but only got one shot through to force a save in the second half as the best defence in the AUS in Cape Breton stood strong. When the whistle finally blew, the score read 2-0, and the Cape Breton Capers were headed back to the U SPORTS Men’s Soccer semifinal.
The four games for U SPORTS Men’s Soccer Semifinal Friday are now set:
StFX takes on TMU at 11:15 am PST (Consolation Semifinal #1)
UQTR takes on McMaster at 1:30 pm PST (Consolation Semifinal #2)
UBC takes on Montreal at 5:00 pm PST (Semifinal #1)
Cape Breton takes on Thompson Rivers at 7:30 pm PST (Semifinal #2)
All games go live on http://www.cbcsports.ca