Heading into last weekend, there was cautious optimism in Dinoland. The football team clinched a home playoff game, the men's soccer team had a favourable draw at the Canada West Finals, and their female counterparts had another chance at the league title.
But what happened next was a complete disaster for the red and gold. The football team lost, the soccer men lost, and the lady Dinos made the Canada West Final, and then lost.
"It was sad, devastating and cruel," said Dinos women's Head Coach Robin Slot.
He was right. Both Dinos soccer teams were knocked out, and for Slot's women's team, it was the last chance at a National Championship with the current core of players.
The women lost in the shootout for the third year out of the last five, but this time, the opponents were the top-ranked UBC Thunderbirds. To make matters worse, UBC conceded
a penalty kick only three minutes away from the end of extra time. Defender Stephanie Bourigault took the shot, and sailed it over the net. Shades of Italian international Roberto Baggio? You bet. Like Baggio and Italy, the Dinos wouldn't have been in the playoffs without Bourigault's contribution. But what will everyone remember?
The game went to a shootout three minutes later and the T-birds won 5-4. According to Slot, the women played their best game of the season against UBC but fate was not on their side. Aside from the wayward spot kick, the Dinos also hit the lumber a couple of times during the match.
On the men's side, a team that should have never been there never offered a glimmer of hope. The Dinos held off Victoria for 61 minutes, but went on to concede four goals between the 62nd and 71st minutes. Without a doubt, these were the ugliest nine minutes the team has had all season.
With starting goalkeeper Thomas Farkas already on the sidelines, the Dinos held on because of several outstanding performances, most notably rookie Brendan Garritty's brilliant game on the left flank. However, the defence (Garritty included) imploded for nine minutes and Victoria's strikers are not players who should be left unmarked. Goals in the 62nd, 63rd, 67th and 71st minutes sealed the Dinos' fate.
All in all, the soccer season ended in disappointment.
The women's team that could have had it all, lost in a bitter shootout, the worst possible soccer death. The lady Dinos were perhaps the most talented team in the country; however, talent alone doesn't win games.
The men's side started the season strong and faltered down the stretch. This team was either good or terrible, there was no in-between. Case in point: Calgary was very strong for 61 minutes of their semifinal and fell apart, almost for no reason, in the second half.
The results are the same as last year, and the year before that. Both Dinos soccer teams came home to Calgary empty handed--leaving only their hopes behind.
Men's alumnus J.P. "Meal Money" Khouri can open any bottle with any object.
It is acceptable to break out in random chants of "Lothar! Lothar!" in honour of men's Assistant Coach Lothar. In fact, this is encouraged.
According to the ladies, Matt Houston's is still the most popular man on campus.
All West Edmonton Mall fantasy suites are booked through November.