Mustangs take thriller in shootout

Daoust leads the way in victory over Brock

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Western men's soccer

Justin Wu

A MORE FEROCIOUS CHALLENGE THAN ME WITH MARIO KART. It took overtime periods and penalty kicks to decide it, but the men’s soccer team eventually triumphed over the Brock Badgers 1-0 this past weekend.

The Western men’s soccer team beat the Brock Badgers in the Ontario University Athletics quarter-finals on Saturday.

On a cold, intermittently rainy day, the ’Stangs took it to the Badgers, but ultimately a shootout sealed the game.

Western pushed the tempo for the majority of the game, particularly stepping it up in the second half with a number of strong chances, including a header that was bicycled out of the field by a Brock defender from the goal line.

Brock had some chances as well, and was particularly effective on the counterattack. Despite the many scoring chances, the game headed to overtime with the score still tied at 0-0.

In overtime, the Mustangs continued pushing the attack and were rewarded with a Michel Daoust goal on a low, turnaround shot at the end of the first overtime frame. After this goal, Brock turned it on, and played their best ball of the game.

“We didn’t really get into it until right at the end,” Brock head coach Bill Millar said. “Western played an exceptional game.”

Nonetheless, it appeared Western had the game won until Brock goalkeeper Chris Cutaia made an amazing save on a near breakaway by Western’s Yianni Mavrikos. On the ensuing counterattack, Brock pressed and came away with the tying goal by Giuseppe Politti with under two minutes left in the second overtime.

Mustangs captain Dante Biscaro was understandably upset when Brock tied it up with so little time left.

“Just the way the whole game went, I thought we really took it to them. Penalties are tricky; it can go either way. One guy misses one shot and that’s it. It happened to us last year in nationals.”

The shootout was strangely anticlimactic. The final shootout score was 4-1 Western, with Daoust, Paul Arnold, Steve Meagher and Biscaro scoring the Mustangs’ shootout tallies.

Western head coach Rock Basacco was happy with his team’s performance starting the postseason.

“I thought we created the better chances in the first half; they must have blocked five of six shots [in the half]. I think in the second half our shots tended to have a better chance of scoring ... and I thought the win was deserved.”

Although the weather seemed to affect the spectators, both coaches downplayed its significance.

“I don’t think the weather affected the players on the field. There is a bit of advantage with the wind behind your back in terms of the shots going in,” Basacco said. “It’s the same playing field for both teams. I don’t think it’s really a big factor.”

Even after this hard-fought victory, the Mustangs are focused on what lies ahead.

“It’s been our goal since day one to win the OUA championship. We are the defending champs, so we would like to repeat if we could,” Basacco said.

“Winning that first game in the final four guarantees you a spot in nationals, which is one of the other goals we set this year. Hopefully if we manage to get to nationals, we will do a better job than we did last year.”

Biscaro agreed, but is wary about the team getting ahead of itself. “It’s difficult not to think about nationals, but the coaches and myself are keeping the guys focused on the next task at hand,” he said. “OUAs are next. Windsor is the number one team " they’re ranked nationally. So one more game to get us to nationals.”

The next game for the team will be the first weekend of November. Western’s opponent is yet to be determined.

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