Seven goals in a soccer match - especially a university soccer match isn’t that common. But that was the case as Day 2 of the 2017 U SPORTS Respect Group Men’s Soccer Championship began on Friday.
In the first consolation semifinal of the day, the Carleton Ravens downed the UNB Varsity Reds 4-3.
After losing their respective quarterfinals, one might have thought both teams would have come out a little dejected. But that wasn’t the case as the Ravens and Varsity Reds both started with some good scoring chances.
Early on, Ravens midfielder Dario Conte had a strike from the top of the box that UNB keeper Evan Barker just got a hand on.
Carleton opened the scoring in the 24th minute off a corner kick. Emad Houche took it on the right side and sent a rocket towards the goal. Ricky Comba leapt into the air and headed it past Barker in the top left side of the net.
Carleton outshot UNB 14-4 in the first half.
The second half started with a bang for the Varsity Reds when Dan Walker broke in and saw some open space beating Ravens keeper David Monk.
In the 54th minute, Ben Gorringe, who came on in the second half, took a long shot that completely fooled Monk tying the match at one.
It wasn’t anything magical that I said. We changed our setup a little bit. We played against teams that had used that same formation quite a bit throughout the year. We have a set up that we use that has been quite successful against that. We changed it up a bit and brought in some fresh legs because it was our fifth game in eight days.
Miles Pinsent - UNB head coach
Forty seconds later, UNB marched down the field again and U SPORTS All-Canadian Joe Hamilton’s shot was juggled by the Carleton keeper and wound up in the net, putting the Varsity Reds up 2-1.
The floodgates opened after that. In the 58th minute, Carleton tied it at two when U SPORTS Rookie of the Year Gabriel Bitar scored on the short side on a penalty. But just 23 seconds later, Kalen Park of the Varsity Reds saw some open ground and took it. From a sharp angle he pulled Monk to his right and shoveled the ball right to Ben Gorringe who potted his second of the contest giving UNB a 3-2 advantage.
“Ben is a key player for us for sure,” added Pinsent. “Unfortunately he got injured in the warmup of our first conference play down match. He didn’t play at all in our conference. Our trainer said we could use him sparingly here. He had 15 or 20 minutes yesterday. We wanted to give him a long run today.”
That lead was short-lived. Carleton tied it up in the 66th minute when Bitar took the pass from Dante Cobisa and found the back of the net. Then in stoppage time, the Ravens pulled the victory as midfielder Tristan St. Pierre scored to make sure his side would play another day.
Carleton will advance to the consolation final against the winner of UQAM and York.
Ravens coach Kwesi Loney acknowledged it was a wild one.
“You play the first half and it’s all over,” he said. The second half, you should never take a quality team like UNB for granted. They took it to us in that second half.”
Both coaches praised their players for coming up with a strong effort after losing 24 hours earlier.
“There were two or three lead changes in the second half,” stated Loney. “It was definitely interesting for the people watching at home (on the webcast) and those in the stands. Little too much excited for me (smiles) but I am glad we finished out on top at the end.”
Players of the Game
- UNB: Ben Gorringe
- Carleton: Gabriel Bitar