The University of Calgary men's soccer team entered play with their season hanging precariously in the balance, desperately needing to pick up points in their last two home games of the soccer season Oct. 13 and 14. The prehistoric soccer squad faced an uphill battle against two of the stronger teams in the Canada West conference, the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds and the University of Victoria Vikes.
The charge for a playoff berth began on Sat. afternoon against the formidable 3-4-1 Thunderbirds. The first half saw both teams trade ball possession with neither team taking clear advantage of the field. There were few quality opportunities until the 20th minute when U of C striker Ryan Holbrook blasted a shot into the top corner that was stopped by 'Bird 'keeper Elliot Usher. The Dinos had another chance off of another ensuing corner but were unable to convert as the first half ended with a score of nil-nil.
The second half played out much like the first half with neither team taking clear control of play. The Thunderbirds had the first quality chance of the half off a throw in but were thwarted in their attempt by Dinos goalkeeper J.P. Crescenzi (#85). Crescenzi ended the day with four saves. One shot that beat him spelled disaster for the soccersaurs, as Thunderbird Jorge Angel-Mira put a perfect cross from Mike Marsh into the net for the match deciding tally. The Dinos tried to rally with little time left and eventually walked off the pitch on the wrong end of a 1-0 score. Calgary dropped to 2-6-1 while UBC headed to Lethbridge with a 4-4-1 record.
The second game of the weekend had the Dinos host the University of Victoria Vikes in a must-have, suspenseful match against their CW top-ranked opponent.
The match began with early Calgary domination of the field and the Vikes mustering marginal forays into the Dinos' side. The Dinos' attack eventually yielded results when, in the 32nd minute, Brian Delaney sent a perfect corner to fifth-year Dino Matthew Deeprose who promptly gave the home side a one-goal advantage. The opening half would settle 1-0 for the Dinos, but they were far from finished on this afternoon.
The Dinos maintained offensive control in the second half with a corner kick being issued in the 50th minute. Dino midfielder Delaney displayed a fantastic touch, locating Calgary striker Ryan Holbrook who buried a header past UVIC 'keeper Dan Kilpatrick. The Vikes began to play with more desperation, eventually peppering Calgary goalkeeper Brian McDonnell with five shots in the frame. The Vikes broke through in the 75th minute when Peter Richmond put away a loose ball. Calgary would go on to a 3-1 win, with the final Dino tally coming from a Vikes own-goal and improve to a hopeful 3-6-1.
Delaney was pleased with the comeback win.
"[I think] we collectively wanted as a group to win it for Brian McDonnell and Matt Deeprose since it was their final home game after five years [with the team]," he said.
Calgary now goes on the road for the final four games of the regular season against the University of Alberta Golden Bears and the University of Saskatchewan Huskies Oct. 19 and 21.