By Eric Licis, October 30 2014 —
The University of Calgary men’s soccer team finished their regular season well above expectations, winning more games than any other year. Despite their success, the momentum wasn’t enough to overcome their provincial rivals in the Canada West playoffs. A single goal in the first half was enough for the University of Alberta Golden Bears to beat the Dinos on Oct. 26 in a quarter-final match that ended 1–0.
Sunday afternoon’s game was a chilly affair, but that didn’t deter Dinos fans from filling the bleachers at the West Varsity Soccer Pitch. It was a full house for the third and final meeting between the two teams, with the winner moving on to the Canada West final four.
The Golden Bears started with possession. They sustained pressure towards the Dinos’ net for the first few minutes of the game. Calgary’s early attempts at crossing the ball were unsuccessful. After a defensive collapse in their box, the Dinos allowed a partial breakaway with a cleverly timed through-ball. Third-year goalkeeper Colin Hasick was forced to make an outstanding save to keep the score even.
U of A continued pressuring Hasick, who was called on again to make the save. This time a Golden Bear forward forced his way through the defence and let go a blistering shot towards the bottom right corner of the net. The ball was kept out, but soon after, a carefully placed ball put Golden Bears’ forward Jermele Campbell in position to fire the ball into the net.
Calgary responded soon after. Chemistry between their two premier players, Dominic Russo and Andrew Hood, was on display throughout the remainder of the game. Russo, who leads the team in scoring, continued to set up Hood, who went on to take a game-leading four shots.
However, none would hit the mark, as Alberta’s defence was focused on shutting these two players down.
The Dinos faced strong head winds in the second half. A midfield defensive structure deployed by the Golden Bears made matters worse. The Dinos were forced to cherry pick for offence by kicking the ball down the field for retrieval, but they found no success.
Dinos leftback Kieran Hay was carried off the field after a controversial slide tackle. Although the penalty led to scoring chances for the Dinos, there was no consistent push back contributing to a goal.
Dinos midfielder James Gourlay tried a shot from just outside of the box towards the end, but goalkeeper Connor James smothered the ball to keep his record perfect in the game.
The Dinos finish their season with 27 points, a team-high record. After starting the season on a three-game losing streak, the Dinos would go on a tear, winning their next nine, which was also a school record.