Senior Boys Soccer: "The vagaries of sport"

The Senior boys soccer squad, mainly featuring Grade 11 players but brimming with talent, opened its campaign with a 4-1 exhibition victory over Stelly’s on September 16. Newcomer Brian Im made an immediate impression with a spectacular solo goal in the sixth minute. He went on to add a second marker, with midfielder Matty McColl also notching a pair.

September 20-21 saw the team at Southridge School in White Rock, taking part in a twelve team ISA tournament. Though controlling play throughout the opening match vs GNS, SMUS conceded twice in the first half before McColl brought the score back to 2-1. Yet, a missed PK in the dying minutes ended any chance to draw level.

However, the team then bounced back nicely to beat Stratford Hall 4-0 and then West Point Grey 2-0. Goalkeeper Aidan McCleary recorded the shutouts. McColl popped three more goals, but it was a lovely, sharp angle chip by Ryan Cui that was the score of the day.

These two wins placed SMUS in the semifinal versus St. George’s. The Saints lived up to their pre-tournament billing as favourites, dominating the action to lead 2-0 with ten minutes to play. Then Michael Baart took over, firing home a natural hat trick, with the deciding marker a powerful header from a corner kick in the dying seconds.

The tournament final, a second meeting with GNS, was a carbon copy, only in reverse! Two early goals, the first by Kieran Large, staked the Blue Jags to a 2-1 halftime lead. McColl and Im then added further scores by midway through the second frame to further reflect SMUS’ dominance. The gold medal looked in hand.

Unfortunately, a slight loss of focus then resulted in some SMUS defensive miscues, with GNS capitalizing on the shift in momentum to draw level in short order at 4-4. Extra time, while heated and exciting, solved nothing, with the title then decided via the dreaded penalty kick route.

In this shootout, GNS prevailed 4-3, consigning SMUS to second place. The day’s play certainly reflected the vagaries of sport, as SMUS did not really deserve to win the semifinal, but did. Then, the team should have won the final, but didn’t. Nonetheless, the five games produced some excellent soccer and, as crucially, pinpointed those areas of play requiring attention.

Back home and in local league action, SMUS did manage a bounce back of sorts, claiming a 2-1 comeback victory at Belmont. Fatigue from the previous weekend was much in evidence, but – after a Hari Ikonomou equalizer – Owen Sudul made use of some good buildup work by Mike Edwards and Kieran Large to slot home the winning shot late in the second half.

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