UQTR 3, Concordia 0: Disappointing End to Break-Out Season for Men’s Soccer Team
Defensive Mistakes and Unproductive Offence Brings Season to an End
At the start of the season, expectations for the men’s soccer team were not high. They were coming off a 1-10-1 season in which they ended dead last in the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec standings.
That being said, this year brought forward a team filled with rookies that fit perfectly both into the tactics and culture that head coach Greg Sutton had instilled during his tenure as head coach. The Stingers became extremely difficult to play against and didn’t shy away from grinding out low-scoring games in order to get results. They used this to take them all the way to the playoffs for the first time since the 2012-2013 season.
They made the lives of every team in the RSEQ difficult, taking points away from each of them—including the defending national champions, the Université de Montréal Carabins. Every team except for one: the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières Patriotes.
As luck would have it, they were the very team the Stingers would have to go through in order to reach the final.
The game started off tight and unflinching, with neither team wanting to make any costly errors. As the game gradually started to open up, the Patriotes started to dictate the pace in the midfield, yet could not break through a determined back-line anchored by captain Lester Gariba.
However, nearing the half-hour mark, an imperious volley from just outside the 18-yard box by UQTR defender Guillaume Pianelli-Balisoni left Stingers goalkeeper Julian Petrilli with no chance—and the Patriotes with one foot in the final.
It was smooth sailing for the Patriotes from that point on. The Stingers, much like they have throughout most of the season, struggled to create their own offence, and UQTR was more than happy to sit back and pick their moment to counter-attack.
Sloppy defending and a second goal at the hour mark only made as Concordia had to be content with only half-chances as they heaved the ball upfield, hoping for the best. A third goal was added on the last kick of the game on another counter-attack but—at that point—the die had been cast.
While the result is disappointing, the improvement off of last year is noticeable and will play a massive role in how the Stingers approach not only the upcoming winter season but next year as well.