Volume 92, Issue 33
Tuesday, November 3, 1998
Nail-biter goes down to the wire
© Tom Baumgartner/Gazette
WERE ALL THE BARBERS IN HAMILTON CLOSED THIS WEEK? Two long-haired Mauraders were in hot pursuit of a Western striker, but McMaster eventually came up short in the OUA semifinal losing to the Mustangs in penalty shots.
By Sean Maraj
Soccer great Pélé once called the sport "the beautiful game." On Sunday the men's soccer teams from Western and McMaster proved why.
The Ontario University Athletics semifinal game ended 1-1 and after two overtime periods the game was finally decided by way of a nail-biting penalty shootout with Western coming out on top.
The game started with McMaster putting pressure on Western early. Western gave up several corner kicks but the defence prevented McMaster from putting the ball into the net. Western's lone opportunity of the half came when sweeper Mike Potts took a spectacular shot from outside McMaster's penalty area which bounced off the crossbar, narrowly missing.
The momentum of the game went back and forth for the rest of the half, but the defence on both sides held strong.
When the game resumed in the second half, Western came out on the offensive and began to put a great deal of pressure on McMaster. Five minutes into the half, Ree San took a corner kick which was deflected into the net by Justin Tusea. From there, Western began to put more pressure on McMaster and it seemed the game was all but over.
"We were very pleased, we created a lot of great chances. But we have to give credit to McMaster they never gave up and that shows the character of the team," said Western head coach Rock Basacco.
Despite the pressure Western put on the team and despite the loss of a player to a red card, McMaster broke through and scored the equalizer.
"We knew we had a better team. We just had to put things together and we were confident we would put it together," said Western goaltender Jonathan Bendiner.
Whatever momentum McMaster had from their late goal was quickly erased. Western went on the offence quickly with Potts again making a wonderful shot, this time just missing the crossbar. Overtime failed to decide the game and opened the door for penalty shots.
This was when Bendiner stepped into the spotlight and came out as the hero of the game. Bendiner stopped two shots, including a brilliant diving save to stop what looked like a certain goal. This allowed Potts to seal McMaster's fate with the winning shot.
"It could've gone either way. I guessed right both times and I stopped them both," Bendiner said.
With this win behind them, the team prepares for the OUA finals tomorrow at 1 p.m.. Bendiner said he was confident of the team's chances.
"Our defence played like a rock. If we play like this in the final, we hope to win the championship."
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