Men’s soccer season ends with 5-0 loss to York Lions

Laurier pulled off a thriller on Wednesday, but dropped the quarterfinal match against the York Lions to be eliminated from playoff contention. (Photo by Heather Davidson)

Laurier pulled off a thriller on Wednesday, but dropped the quarterfinal match against the York Lions to be eliminated from playoff contention. (Photo by Heather Davidson)

GUELPH, Ont. — They never said they were going to go down easy.

The Wilfrid Laurier men’s soccer team finished sixth in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) West division for the second year in a row. For the second year in a row, they were on the road for their first playoff game.

And for the second year in a row, the Hawks upset the third-seeded team in dramatic fashion.

Last Wednesday, Laurier travelled to Guelph to take on the third-seeded and No. 8 nationally ranked Gryphons in a cold, snowy affair.

After 120 minutes of play and a 3-3 tie, the game was settled in the seventh round of penalty kicks, where Matthew Maughn scored the game winner to send Laurier to the OUA West quarterfinal.

“It was very similar to last year, our first playoff game, we came back and won it,” said third-year Jordan Kotsopoulos, referring to last year’s 3-2 first-round thriller against the Western Mustangs.

“The guys showed a tremendous amount of passion and heart and we did it again.”

However, much like last year, the Hawks’ playoff hopes and season would end at the hands of the nationally ranked York Lions in the OUA quarterfinal.

Laurier lost 5-0 to York on Sunday, which halts their 2013 season just before the OUA Final Four.

The last time Laurier made the Final Four was in 2008 when the Hawks were OUA champions, but fell at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) championships.

However, this year, the team went through a large transition since the 2012 season.

With eight rookies, the Hawks sprung out to a 2-0-2 record in September before being nationally ranked No. 7 on Sept. 11.

From there, Laurier continued to impress, posting a 2-2 tie to the Lions a few weeks after suffering a harsh 7-0 loss to York.

The team finished with a 6-4-6 record, clinching a playoff berth with four games left in the season.

The thrilling playoff game proved to be a highlight of the season, with goalkeeper Harrington making a save in the seventh round of penalty kicks to set up Maughn’s game-winning goal.

Kotsopoulos, who before the Guelph game hadn’t scored a goal in his career with Laurier, notched two tallies to help keep the Hawks in the back-and-forth affair.

“We came in [to Guelph] with a lot of heart and hard work and we were ready for it,” Kotsopoulos said.

“We knew it was going to be cold, it was going to take a lot of work to get this done and it was back and forth all game. One up, one down and we ended up pulling through and winning in penalties.”

Rookie Niklas Bauer also showed bright spots with the Laurier squad, coming in with a starting position for the majority of games and scoring a crucial goal in the game against Guelph.

Bauer finished third on the team for goals with four.

“I feel pretty good with the season I’ve had,” Bauer said.

“I’m a first year player, a rookie, and getting on the starting lineup for most games. I feel like next year I can do even better and improve on this season.”

Laurier now heads into the offseason, with potentially five seniors leaving the team.

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