With enormous effort put forth this weekend, the Dinos men's soccer team found the silver lining at the Canada West Finals held at the University of Calgary. On Sat., Nov. 6, the Dinos knocked off the second nationally ranked Trinity Western University Spartans 2-1. The Dinos, who are unranked nationally, then went on to compete against the University of Victoria Vikes in the gold medal game Sun., Nov. 7. This was the first time the Dinos played in the Canada West Final championship game since 1980.
Winless against TWU in four regular season encounters, the Dinos had to pull out a stellar performance for the win. Taking care of business, the Dinos took the lead early. In the twelfth minute, Matt Houston took a corner kick for the Dinos. The ball pin-balled around the front of the net briefly before Matthew Deeprose passed back to Luis Morales, who kicked it into the top-right corner from 20 yards out. The game was intense and hard fought, with no change in score until the second half.
Justin Cordick of TWU, who had screamed like a girl for a free kick earlier in the game, somehow slipped past the defence, caught U of C keeper Rick Urbanczyk high in the box and chipped it over into the net. Dead even, the intensity of the two teams did not waver.
Karma was on the Dinos' side, and Houston was taken down inside the TWU box. It's not that we don't like Houston, but the Dinos were awarded a penalty kick, taken by Adam "Oni" Onulov, who stroked it in for the winning goal.
"I was so scared going there; juggling between being focused and relaxed. I just put it where I wanted," said Onulov. "We knew what we had to do. We had to come out big."
Head Coach Andy Gibbs wasn't too surprised with the win.
"We were close to them earlier in the season," he said. "The win shows great spirit in the team."
The Dinos went on to play the Vikes, who defeated the University of Alberta "Pansies" 4-1 earlier in the day. On Sunday, U of A was defeated by TWU in the bronze medal match-up, 1-0.
According to Gibbs, during the regular season UVic should have been ranked number one. Unfortunately, Gibbs' prediction was right. Despite all the hard work and heart put into Sunday's Championship game, UVic walked away with the gold, 2-1.
Early in the game, Kingsley Jones of UVic set the pace by capitalizing on an opportune pass from Chris Cravero. To make matters worse, nearing the end of the first half, Adam "A-Mac" MacDonald was carried off the field with an injured hamstring.
After many solid but failed attempts, Jon Remmer scored the first Dinos goal. Remmer took advantage of mass confusion in the Vikes box after a corner kick by Matt Deeprose to tie the game 1-1.
Both teams were playing aggressive. In the 56th minute, Jones of UVic once again shot the ball solidly past Urbanczyk. The remainder of the game carried out like survival of the fittest, with both teams putting up valiant efforts. In the end, the Dinos came away with silver medals.
"We played tremendous and lost," Gibbs summed up.
This position is where Gibbs saw this team two years ago while they were still young. Most will play for the Dinos next year, but four valued members will go on their way. Matt Houston, Luis Morales, Jon Remmer, and Andrew Zakaluzny gave awesome performances all season, particularly this weekend, and will be sorely missed. If the Dinos continue where they left off, they should dominate next season.