Volume 95, Issue 29
Wednesday, October 24, 2001
No kicks this year for soccer men
UWO absent in playoffs for the second straight year
By Tate Abols
In their final game of the regular season, the Western men's soccer team fell to playoff-bound Brock by a score of 2-1.
The scrappy Sunday afternoon affair at TD Waterhouse Stadium saw the Brock Badgers push themselves into the playoffs in a must-win situation.
With only four minutes to play before the final whistle, second-year striker Fabrizio DiGiammartino notched a goal off a hard right foot, beating the diving Western keeper into the right side of the net.
DiGiammartinos' goal, his first in his university career, broke a three-way tie between Brock, McMaster and Guelph for the final playoff spot in the OUA Southern Division.
DiGiammartino was obviously very happy about his marker. "It was amazing to score the winning goal against Western. [The team] always gets up for this game against Western," he said.
This loss marked the second straight season Western has failed to qualify for post-season play, after winning back-to-back national championships in years.
Striker Mikeal Gebre-Mariam, who scored Western's lone goal off a penalty kick to knot the score 1-1, said a lack of offence cost the Mustangs in their playoff push.
"It was disappointing to not make the playoffs. It seemed we couldn't get the goals we needed," Gebre-Mariam said.
Third-year defender Paco Barnett, said the physical match was reflective of the season as a whole. "This game sums up the entire season. We had periods of good strong play, but in the end we couldn't put it all together," Barnett said.
Barnett also assessed the team's future. "We definitely have some good, young players who are getting more and more seasoned. The goal is to return to the prominence and glory of the championship seasons," he said.
Western head coach Rock Basacco echoed the sentiments of his veteran defender. "Our team was definitely a young team with a lot of first-year players. It was too bad we didn't end the season on a high note with a victory, but we are looking forward to next season, especially being a little more seasoned," he said.
Basacco said his team failed to win their important match-ups this year. "The problem was we didn't get the wins against Ryerson and Windsor that we really needed. Add to that, we were in a very strong pool and we just didn't make it in this year."
Despite not making the playoffs, Western finished the regular season with an encouraging 5-4-1 record.
Copyright © The Gazette 2001