TRENT GOES DOWN SHOOTING (Part 1 )
What a game! Unbelievable! Did you see that? Those phrases echoed the halls of the PSB Wilson Athletic Complex at Trent University after the completion of, what some are calling, the most memorable games in the programs history. After 120 minutes of intense playoff action Trent’s fate was decided by the dreaded penalty shootout, thus, ending the exciting 2008 run of the most successful Excalibur Men’s Soccer Team ever.
If you were unfortunate to have missed “The Game” that had it all, it will be difficult to articulate here its intensity, animosity, controversy, boisterousness, historical importance, or its technical merit. But, it had it all.
Ryerson fans arrived first. Obviously they were in quite a mood all ready, sporting apparel, horns, and megaphone. As Trent supporters started to trickle in, it became apparent that competing factions would be vying for the loudest presence. “None of the surroundings affected us. We were just too focused on the game itself and Coach had us prepared for anything” said defending standout Jon Mondino.
Trent did seem ready indeed and contrary to one newspaper report, controlled the pace of the first half. An opening Ryerson kickoff was gathered up by a sturdy Excalibur defence and found a Michael Dappah bullet ricochet off the Rams post within two minutes after the start. Dappah connected, once again, later in the half with first year striker Jose Ruben Valenzuela Osuna to send in Trent scoring leader Thaddeus Bolton for his first chance of the evening.
Ryerson’s chances frequently came from about 30 – 35 yards out as Trent seemed to be content to allow keeper Navi Sidhu to handle strikes from that distance. When he did he proved to be quite effective at creating Trent’s counter by playing balls wide particularly to speedster Sean Beech. Although, Trent dictated the pace of the opening frame, Ryerson squandered their first real chance when striker Daniel Hartman slipped in unmarked to get on to the end of a free kick that landed on the six yard box and placed it over the open net. Trent looked to play a little more cautious after the near miss. However, Mondino played a ball out of the back that found Bolton in on goal again, but again without the desired result.
With nothing on the scoreboard Ryerson at no time looked broken by the Excalibur pressure. A corner kick with less than five minutes to go in the first half took a merciless deflection off the near post Trent defender to a more than accommodating Hartman who made up for his first miss. “I don’t know what more I could have done,” recollected Mondino who was the victim of the deflection. Both teams retired from the cold of the first half with Ryerson stealing a 1-0 lead.
“How we pressured wide was the only thing Coach addressed during the break. He told us that everything was good other than the score so we would have to finish by willing the ball into the net,” said second year standout Aaron “skip” Thompson. Thompson’s stellar performances have been credited with being the mastermind behind some of Thaddeus Bolton’s record breaking goals this season. “He’s sick, so accurate. I finish what he serves up.”