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Volume 91, Issue 35

Thursday, October 30, 1997



Western is heading to Halifax

©Tom Baumgartner/Gazette
HEY HO, BLOW THE MEN DOWN. Western mid-fielder Jim Tsaprailis blows by Golden Hawk Mark Mathies while Luca Mancuso [no.7] provides moral support in yesterday's OUA West soccer final.

By Mike Sikorski

Gazette Staff

The Western Mustang soccer team went to J.W. Little Stadium for the OUA West final against the Laurier Golden Hawks yesterday and came away with plane tickets to Halifax.

The game, a low-scoring affair that saw the Mustangs win 2-1 in a thrilling shoot-out, was expected to be an easy victory for Western. After posting a 10-1-1 record, beating the Golden Hawks twice during the regular season and outscoring them 7-0, the onslaught never happened because both teams struggled to find the back of the net.

The first goal didn't come until well into the first half when Laurier was granted a penalty kick – taken by Golden Hawk netminder Mark Ignor, who booted it straight into the Mustang net.

The remainder of the game was a defensive stand-off, with the Laurier defenders keeping the ball clear of the dangerous Mustang strikers. One of the only good chances on Western's side of the ball came when Alan Hume headed a Ree San pass off the crossbar.

Late in the second half, a penalty kick was awarded to Western which, taken by Luca Mancuso, was placed perfectly over the Laurier defender and into the bottom left corner of the Golden Hawk goal.

The game went into overtime with the score 1-1, but each team squandered countless opportunities to end the game. The combination of missed shots and outstanding goalkeeping left the game in a tie when overtime ended.

The deadlock was then decided by shoot-out, where the Mustangs recorded two goals (Tom Perks and Luca Mancuso) – topping Laurier's single score – clinching the trip to Halifax for the nationals.

One of the most pleasant surprises was the performance of Western goalkeeper John Dreliozis, who played his first game in nearly two years after being sidelined by injury this season and playing in Greece as a backup goalie for the World Cup team last year.

"I told him as I was walking off the field 'you're worth millions'," Mancuso said. "It was the best game I've seen him play. I'm really happy to see him do well."

Dreliozis commented on his ability to handle the nerve-racking shoot-out. "The pressure is all on the shooter," he said. "The first goal they scored, I tried to anticipate and went right. When he shot straight, I just waited."

Laurier coach Frank Anagnostopolous said he was happy with his team's performance commenting that both teams had legitimate chances at victory.

"Our defence played really well, but Western is one of the most skillful teams in the league," he said. "The game could have gone either way."

The No. 3 ranked Mustangs will join No. 9 York, who upset second-seeded Toronto 1-0, for the OUA title at J.W. Little Stadium on Saturday at 1 p.m.. Both teams will then travel to Dalhousie to compete in the CIAU championships on the weekend of Nov. 6.

To Contact The Sports Department: gazsport@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright © The Gazette 1997