In their first ever tournament, it took Laurier Brantford’s men’s indoor soccer team until their fourth game to earn a win.
After struggling offensively – one goal in their first three games – the Golden Hawks found some success against Canadore in the consolation round. A pair of goals from Senior’s Presley Cormack and Levi Furber in the second half was all Laurier needed.
The first goal came right after the half thanks to a nice build-up play. Junior Jerrett Putt beat his man before a nice give and go with Junior Tyler Botelho, leading to a chance in close. Putt passed it off to Senior Presley Cormack, who tapped in the goal giving Laurier their first lead of the tournament.
Nearing the end of the game Furber got a steal near his own goal line before going end to end for the second goal of the game. Furber said “I got the ball and went for a sprint, heard coach yelling at me. Towards the end, I felt a little pull, but decided to take the shot”.
Although the team struggled to score, keeping the ball out of the net was no problem for Junior Pasquale Centrito. Centrito received high praise from Assistant Coach Jesse Asiedu, “Keeper was man of the match, man of the tournament for us. He showed great composure and kept the guys in the game with some big saves”.
Centrito helped keep the team organized from his spot, “If you hear me in net I’m yelling, I’m losing my voice, talking is the most important thing”.
Laurier got off to a strong start after tying a Sheridan team that eventually reached the semi’s. the game started with Laurier killing a penalty, like hockey indoor soccer has penalties for two minutes. A long-range shot fell right into the top corner giving the Bruins a 1-0 lead early.
Isaiah Oja scored for Laurier after Botelho forced a turnover and sent him a long ball down the sidelines for the first goal in team history. With Sheridan using their goalie as an extra player Laurier had a few more chances on breaks as the goalie scrambled back but couldn’t finish.
Centrito played a major role in securing the upset draw with a few high-quality saves as Laurier finished the game killing off another penalty. A draw meant the Golden Hawks needed to win or to score at least two goals in a tie when they matched up with Centennial.
The team looked more comfortable in their second game with more possession, as Sophomore Isaiah Ojo almost scored again near the end of the half. In a game that lacked many chances for either side, Botehlo lined up for a free kick near the end of the game. His shot went in but unfortunately didn’t hit anyone so was not counted. When the game finished scoreless Laurier was sent to the consolation round.
Head Coach Murphy Wiredu after the elimination said, “Offensively we could have done better, we had our chances but we couldn’t take advantage of them. That cost us and that’s why we weren’t able to move on”.
Although Wiredu was disappointed in the result he was quick to credit the team, “We did what we wanted to do in terms of frustrating the other teams. Defensively we were disciplined and organized”.
In the first consolation game Laurier faced Conestoga. Laurier started the game by generating a few good chances couldn’t be finish. As the game wore on the team began to feel the affects of having a roster half the size of other teams as they began to cramp up repeatedly. As the energy of the players dropped so did the chances.
A shot by Junior Simon Crowley was saved with Ojo getting the rebound, which was also saved. Off a counter attack, Conestoga took the lead in the final minutes of the game. A final push by Laurier resulted in Cormack being taken down just outside the box for a free kick. Furber eventually got the ball after a nice play but couldn’t find the net as Laurier lost their first game.
After the game Ojo said, “The chances, some of them I could have done better. The other ones it has to do with luck, not every shot is going to go in”.
Notes: Freshman Martin Mejia injured his thigh in the second game and said, “I feel a bit stiff but it won’t take much time to recover, I will play Thursday.” … Ojo entered the tournament injured and left feeling worse, “Cramped up on my two calves, huge turf burn on my waist, twisted finger, and one of my toes was stepped on so running was a huge problem. I will be able to play on Thursday but for now my whole body is sore.” … Next Thursday the team will be playing at George Brown and Denziel Henry is expected to join the team… Wiredu is still looking for new players to add to the roster, “Any player who goes to the school full time and is interested can call me at 416-522-2694.” …