In the last game before the Thanksgiving break, the senior boys soccer Spartans hosted the Massey-Vanier Vikings on Philip Field on Tuesday, October 3at 4:15pm. Another beautifully sunny and warm afternoon, with the leaves almost at their peak fall colours, set the stage for a classic game against our Township neighbours from Cowansville.
Having tied the opening game of the season 2-2 on the road at MVR, our guys were fired up for this game and primed to earn a positive result on home soil. Without question, this match was the best game played to date. We were on the mark and played proactively from the opening kick-off to the game’s completion. We ran our socks off, worked so well as a cohesive unit in both halves of the field, exhibited stretches of play where we kept possession of the ball and had strings of passes numbering consistently in the teens. Even on paper our dominant play was reflected in key statistical categories such as shots (SC 30 to MVR 6), corner kicks (SC 8 to MVR 1) and we even hit the cross bars twice and the goal post once.
However, the game, as we all know, is based on one key statistic and one alone: the scoreboard. At the end of 80 minutes of play, the scoreboard read 1-1. Now, in most other sports, if one team dominates the offensive categories in such a lopsided manner, they usually win comfortably but the result is seldom in question. As for soccer, that is the beauty and the beastly nature of the game. As has been stated before, the natural elements play a significant role in determining bounces, ricochets, and field conditions to name a few. So, while it was very satisfying for the boys to have demonstrated their great progress and really advance the quality of their game, we were left more than a little frustrated with not having converted on two to three of the outstanding chances we created.
Credit goes to the Vikings in the 14th minute for pressuring us hard in our own end, as a communication mix-up and errant Spartan pass ricocheted off their striker and into the back of our net. Worry we didn’t. We marched the ball back to centre, kicked off again and even raised our intensity and pressure in the Vikings’ end of the field. Less than ten minutes later, Luke DeLaBruere’s defence-splitting pass from the right wing into the run of Gabriel De Santis was turned into the MVR net before their goalkeeper could react. The speed and ferocity of the pass combined with Gabe’s touch were top-class and highlight reel worthy.
Despite a second half 16-2 Spartan shot advantage and two crossbars, all the scoring was done for the day. Final score: Spartans 1 – Vikings 1.
Following the Thanksgiving break, the Spartans will play at the CAIS national tournament at Ridley College in St. Catharines, Ontario. Our group includes Country Day School (Toronto), Lower Canada College (Montreal) and St. Andrew’s College (Aurora, Ontario). Both LCC and SAC are perennial Canadian boarding school powerhouse programs, but we are really looking forward to the challenges these opponents lay in front of us. Having the opportunity to play these programs will do nothing but benefit our game. Following the CAIS tournament, we host Richmond Regional High School (Tuesday, October 17 and Galt on Wednesday, October 18) in the final two league games of the season. The following week, we enter the ETIAC playoffs!