AUS men’s soccer gets underway as U SPORTS nationals loom at Cape Breton

HALIFAX, NS – The summer is finally over, and AUS men’s soccer has taken over the lives of student athletes until the end of October where they hope to leave as AUS champions.

Dalhousie Tigers freshmen striker kicked off the AUS season with a match versus the Memorial Sea-Hawks in Newfoundland.

At the 33:53 second year midfielder Rodion Kichimov took the ball with pace and sent a beautiful ball from half through two Dalhousie defenders to Colin Connor who went in all alone and put it through the keeper’s legs for the first goal of the AUS season.

That would be the lone goal in the game for each teams, and Memorial led big in the shot department with 14 and six of those forcing Dalhousie’s keeper Sinclair Astridge to make a save.

Dalhousie’s trip to “The Rock” would not end that quickly as the two teams met again Sunday afternoon in Saint John’s, and they would put on a show.

The Tigers would strike first this time, when defender Michael Trim went on the rush and put a prayer on net that hit the inside of the post and bounced perfectly to striker Mykeo Parker-Christmas who put the ball into the empty net.

The Sea-Hawks reacted to being down one by putting up a couple of goals before the end of the half.

Memorial’s Brent Hennebury put a great ball into the box that could have went to any player in the box, but Hashem Khalifa headed the ball past Dalhousie’s keeper, and now we had a whole new game.

Before Memorial could even finish celebrating, the ball would end up in DAL’s net again.

Right off the kickoff the Sea-Hawks would gain possession after a great tackle that ended up on Taj Exley’s feet who put it up to Augustine Opuoro who went down the left side of the field, then created enough space to launch a dart into the top right corner past the Tiger’s Keeper.

The game calmed for a moment until Memorial’s defender put a ball through to Felly Elonda that looked like it was going to be swallowed up by the keeper, but somehow got past him, and Elonda with all kinds of time, put the ball into the open net.

Dalhousie, down 3-1 now, looked to generate any type of chances to get themselves back into the game, and they did so at the 82 minute mark off of a free kick that Bennett Kishchuk headed past the Memorial keeper, and the Tigers rushed to get into formation in search of the equaliser.

There would be no answer for Dalhousie, as they headed home from their Newfoundland road trip with two losses

The Second match of the year took place in Charlottetown with the UPEI Panthers and the Mount Allison Mounties.

It was all UPEI as Riad Jaha opened the scoring for the UPEI season which was set up by Emile Abele after a chaotic corner sequence ended up in his possession. 

The Panthers extended their lead in the second half after Jonah Barlett was slammed down by a Mounties defender in the box, and Kasper Lasia buried his rebound off of the penalty kick. 

The first game to only feature two Nova Scotia teams came with a match between the Saint Mary’s Huskies and the Acadia Axemen. This would be Saint Mary’s lone game of the weekend and they made it count.

The Huskies opened the scoring before the rival Acadia fans could even get in their seats when wing/forward Sean Freeman pounced on a juicy rebound set by Adam Dunsworth to get the early lead.

Woody Bain added some insurance to the lead.

Bain hurried and caught the Acadia defence off guard on a freekick just outside the box, and now the Huskies were up 2-0 just six minutes into the game.

The defender would add to his great day by scoring another free kick-this time with the defence settled-to bury the Axemen.

Acadia would attempt to get back in the game when at the 50 minute mark when forward Anderson Petter found a wide open Michael O’Flynn to lower the lead to two.

This momentum would eventually die when at the 80th minute when SMU’s Scott Firth crossed the ball that unfortunately bounced off an Acadia defender that went to defender Orion Wiersma who put Acadia’s ambitions to rest.

The Axemen would then bounce off of the loss and travel to Charlottetown to meet UPEI on Sunday.

The Axemen would once again concede the first goal, this time off a free kick that landed in the box to Riad Jaha who headed it to P.E.I. native Will Campbell who buried the first goal of the match.

Acadia bounced back this time by a familiar face in Michael O’Flynn who finished off a rebound set to him by Oscar Marshall in the dying minutes of first half extra time.

It would take until the second half for UPEI to answer off a corner kick that flew over the chaos, but Emile Abele headed it back into the pack where the ball somehow ended up onto Jacob Tweel’s foot in front of the net and he buried it to take the lead.

The Axemen were now searching for the even marker, and it seemed it would not come, until the 84th minute where the Axemen sent a low ball off of a free kick into the box, and after bouncing around UPEI defenders ended up with Oscar Marshall tying the game, and thatg would be the final result.

The first match of Saturday featured the STFX X-Men and the Moncton Aigles Bleues in Antigonish, N.S.

The match was even until at the 33 minute mark, the Moncton keeper believed the ball was still inside the box, but it was a few feet outside, and the X-Men capitalised on the mistake by Logan Rieck going bar and in on the ensuing free kick.

That was the only goal, and the X-Men walked away from a tight game with their three points.

STFX would keep their field advantage and welcome the UNB Reds to town Sunday afternoon.

An even tighter match would have the X-Men open the scoring gates again with Kyle Cordeiro beating the UNB defence in a foot race to receive a through ball that he would put past the Reds’ keeper.

UNB looked to equal the score, and they did so when Luke Rosettani made a great cross nearly falling out of bounds to Stafano D’Ambrogio-whose name was made for soccer-headed the ball to answer UNB’s prayers.

They did not stay tied for long as five minutes later Lars Gierull sprung Keji Adeniyi who nearly tied the game, but the STFX keeper stood strong, but the keeper also gave up a rebound that Alex Oprea took advantage of to take the lead, and eventually win the game.

UNB was finishing up their northern Nova Scotia tour after being in Cape Breton the day before facing the Capers at their home.

The Capers struck first off of a corner kick by Sebastian Cochrane that was tipped by Ze Cunha’s head which ended up into the back of UNB’s net.

The Reds would not go away as before the end of the half UNB put in a corner that ended up on a forward’s foot. The forwards’ shot beat the keeper, but was stopped by one of the defenders, but a rebound came out and UNB equaled the six straight AUS champions’ score.

Cape Breton answered this by taking over the second half first with another corner kick goal scored by Elisiah Lee, and then a great cross by Benjamin Fortuin led to Amadou Bayo finishing off the Reds.

The Capers then brought the Moncton Aigles Bleues to town where they would utterly dominate them from start to finish.

Cape Breton scored early at the 4:49 mark where Jacob Spizzirri drove down the left side of the field and passed it off to Cameron Kilbride who finished off the play.

The Aigles Bleues would then get very unlucky on the next CBU goal where the defender had a rushing caper on him, and the defender attempted to head the ball back to the Moncton keeper, but it went past the keeper and into the net.

Moncton continued their unlucky ways after Capers’ Amadou Bayo was sprung for a breakaway, and was fouled by an Aigles Bleues defender. Owen Sheppard then had a successful penalty kick to put the Capers up 3-0 which stayed until the end of the game, and the end of the AUS men’s soccer weekend.

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