Photo by Valerie Wutti
Guelph, Ontario – The Guelph Gryphons held firm as the OUA’s top seed on Saturday afternoon as they topped the defending champion Carleton Ravens in the first OUA semi-final.BOX SCORE
Guelph’s lone goals was scored in the 40th minute by Owen McKee while Svyatoslav Artemenko recorded the 8 save shut-out for the Gryphons. Deep in stoppage time, the Ravens were awarded a penalty and veteran Scott Mazzotta (Ottawa, Ont.) stepped to the spot but Svyatoslav was game, making the game winning save.
The Ravens outshot the Gryphons 11-3 in the contest, including a lopsided 6-0 second half, but couldn’t overcome the late first-half goal.
With the win, the Gryphons advances to play either Ryerson or York in the OUA Championship next Saturday, with the winner advancing to the 2021 U SPORTS Men’s Soccer Championship at Carleton University November 18-21. While the Ravens OUA season ends with the loss, they now have a week off to regroup as they prepare to host the national championship.
For the Ravens, attention now shifts to being physically and mentally ready for nationals. Looking ahead, coach Kwesi Loney recognizes the challenges of the season have helped to prepare his team. “The most positive thing that I want to take from everything is just that you learn your lessons. We as a team have been learning every step of the way, building more chemistry, playing with the best teams in the country, now that’s all going to bring us to the culmination of nationals.”
As the Ravens prepare to turn these learning opportunities into momentum coach Loney takes solace in the versatility his team has shown. “It’s been about learning about ourselves; what we’re capable of, what we’re not capable of and who blends well with which player.” The Ravens have used the 12 games of the season to test formations and establish chemistry, which can only help when they face the countries best in two weeks time.
Coach Loney recognized that the team’s depth and the variety of formations used throughout the season will only further help as they prepare for the tournament. “Now we have a better understand of who can do what where and that will provide us with a great understanding of what we have going into this national tournament.”
Tournament passes and individual day-passes for the U SPORTS National Soccer Championship are on sale now.