Postseason exit for men’s soccer

Men’s soccer fell to the York Lions, bringing their season to and end

Contributed photo
Contributed photo

With a young squad, the Wilfrid Laurier University men’s soccer team gave the nationally ranked York Lions a run for their money.

The Lions, ranked first place in Canada, eliminated the Hawks from the playoffs in quarterfinal play by a score of 2-0.

“Overall, the whole game, I have to give the boys credit. We actually competed and it was a soccer game. It was one of those things where we competed and we gave them a run for their money,” said head coach Mario Halapir.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s a playoff game or a pick-up game in the park; you got to be ready to compete.”

It wasn’t until the 18th minute when York found the back of the net by a header from defender Henry Moody who deflected a free kick into the goal. Despite the goal, the Hawks continued to play hard. According to fourth-year forward Tyrell Wilson, Laurier played “selfless” soccer.

“We all played for each other. Everyone was selfless out there on the field; there was no individuals. Everyone sacrificed everything for the team and I believe that was why we were able to execute our defensive strategy probably for the whole year,” he said.

York put their second tally on the board in the 57th minute by midfielder Eric Amato, who beat goalkeeper Julien John to the ball and shot it into the net.

That would be all the Lions needed to advance to the Ontario University Athletics final four.

Halapir said he was impressed with the way the Hawks competed in this high-pressure, high intensity match. Historically, York and Laurier have faced off numerous times in the playoffs, with the Hawks managing to beat them in the OUA final in 2008.

Since then, the Hawks have been able to play a strong game against the Lions each year. It wasn’t until last year when Halapir thought the Hawks didn’t play their best soccer against York.

“I think last year was the one time where we didn’t give them a good game,” he said. “We wanted to make sure that that didn’t happen again.”

The most important lesson Wilson learned during the game was to just keep fighting, no matter what, and to work to persevere.

“Even though you’re a big underdog you can’t think that way,” he said.

“You have to actually believe you’re going to win and play like you’re going to win.”

Despite the outcome, Wilson admitted that the Hawks had their chances, and that if the bounces went in their direction, the game could have had another outcome.

As for the offseason, the Hawks have the option to participate in the offseason training program, which gives them some turf time playing indoors to prepare themselves for next season.

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