CAPE BRETON, NS – Coming off the program’s first appearance at the U SPORTS Nationals, the men’s soccer team left everything they had on the field, but unfortunately fell short in a 1-0 loss to UBC in the bronze medal game at the U Sunday morning.
After the Cougars beat the Thunderbirds in the Canada West championship just a week before, ending UBC’s five-year winning streak, the Battle of the West was practically destined to return for another medal match between the rival schools.
UBC’s Luke Norman was able to score the lone goal in the 27th minute after a deflected clearance attempt from Mount Royal, inevitably leading the Thunderbirds to victory. UBC played a dominant first half, with 10 shots on net. Mount Royal came out hard in the second half looking for an equalizer, with seven shots and three corner kicks in the final 45 minutes.
The Cougars had a great chance in the 74th minute with a tricky header Finn Marshall after a cross that went behind the defense, but missed just inches past his goalkeeper.
If anything is certain, the game did not have a dull moment, and the Cougars gave it their all until the end. While the loss seemed devastating, the team held their heads high knowing that their mere presence at the U SPORTS Nationals as the No. 1 seed made history not only for the men’s soccer program, but for Mount Royal Athletics as well. Specifically, graduate players Benedikt Mehl, David Schaferand William Libbeythey can look back on their time with the Cougars winning Canada West Gold for the first time in program history and finishing fourth on the national stage.
“It was a tough 90 minutes and at the end of the day it just came down to a few missed opportunities. We’ve worked so hard all season; I’m so proud of our guys and the work we put in to get here,” says U SPORTS first team Canadian and captain team, Caden Rogozinski.
Head coach Ryan Gyaki thought about helping lead his team to their first U SPORTS National.
“It was a very close game and it was fun to play a rematch against UBC from the Canada West final; both teams put in an effort and played very well. I think UBC was dominant in the first half, and unfortunately we had more in our hands in the second; , their opportunity was taken and ours was not. Overall, it was an excellent game. Congratulations to UBC and all the other teams, and thanks to Cape Breton for putting on an amazing event!” says Gyaki.
U SPORTS x Nike Team Player of the Game: Aidan Dumoulin