Men’s soccer wins exhibition against Algonquin Thunder

ON SEPT. 25, the University of Ottawa’s men’s soccer team battled the Algonquin Thunder, last year’s provincial champions, on Matt Anthony Field. While the competitive club had a slow start to the season with a loss to Carleton early in the year, they have crept up to higher standards, beating Queen’s, Ryerson, and now Algonquin, winning the exhibition  game 7-4.

Head coach David Piccini said the team is heading in the right direction and that unity as a squad is what will take them to the top.

“Since our trip beating Queen’s and Ryerson, we’ve been a force to be reckoned with,” he said.

“[We’ve] dropped one game in five. [We have] good team cohesion, good balls to our forwards. The guys are making good runs now and we are moving the ball together as a team, collectively.”

The game started with both teams playing cautiously, warming up to each other’s plays. The U of O saw the first score of the game with third-year Christian Dimitryk making a shot through the centre. The Gees goaltender, fourth-year Wahabou Alamou, shook off many Thunder attempts on the net, diving and catching the ball in order to drive it up the field. The first half of the game ended with a score of 4-1 for the Gees.

The Algonquin Thunder had many opportunities to score in the second half but were unable to capitalize on their time, making several rushed kicks that caused them to overshoot. Algonquin did manage to shoot a penalty kick into the net straight through the defenders, and another corner shot brought their tally to 4. Both teams picked up speed in the last 10 minutes—the Gees making a breakaway run with fourth-year Carlos Lazaro scoring the final goal of the game for a 7-4 win.

“[Algonquin has] a strong squad,” said Piccini after the game. “They are one of the best teams in the [Ontario Colleges Athletics Association] league. It’s good to have games against quality opposition, and it gives us a good gauge of where we would stand.”

As a competitive club, the men’s soccer team is unable to play within the Ontario University Athletics league, so they play exhibition games with opposing university, college, and local teams.

“As we are a competitive club, we get in as many games as we can in the year. We’ve played opposition at the university level,” explained Piccini. “Since the strike with the colleges, a lot of them have been looking for games so we’ve been happy to accommodate that.”

The team travels to Montreal Thanksgiving weekend to play Sherbrooke University and Concordia University. 

—Katherine DeClerq