Team hopes to rebound at nationals

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

After losing on penalty kicks in the Ontario University Athletics finals last week to the York Lions, Western head coach Rock Basacco and his men’s soccer team have not lowered the bar going into nationals this weekend.

“We’re looking for gold,” he said. “I’m sure the boys aren’t going to be happy with anything less than a gold medal.”

In last weekend’s OUA play, the ’Stangs got off to a hot start, defeating the Carleton Ravens in semi-final action 2-1 off a goal by striker Michel Daoust in the 90th minute.

“The boys played a superb game,” Basacco said. “We came back and ended up scoring two beautiful goals.”

Despite being down 1-0 33 minutes into the game, Western midfielder Dante Biscaro said the team’s preparation heading into the match helped it overcome the deficit.

“I thought we had better possession and better play in the first half. In the second half we stepped it up and took over the game,” he said. “We had the feeling we were going to win that game. The confidence and preparation we had going in got us those two goals.”

In the OUA finals match, Western overcame two separate deficits versus York before bowing out in penalty kicks.

“York is a very strong team, and our energy level was maybe a little low,” Basacco said. “The boys still showed great resiliency and character to be able to come back and tie the game.”

Biscaro and striker Mark Pocrnic notched Western’s two tallies in the match.

Despite finishing second in the OUA, Western still qualified for the Canadian Interuniversity Sport championship this weekend, which is taking place at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

The team’s second place finish, however, means it will be taking on Trinity Western (Langley, BC), ranked number three in Canada, in its first game of the tourney. The game will decide if Western will advance to the medal round or not.

“The Western game has always been based on high-powered offence, though this year we have a very strong defence,” Basacco said. “We need to go at them, we can’t sit back and just defend.”

Biscaro said the team has to look back on its past successes this year going into the weekend.

“We only had one loss in the regular season and the loss on penalty kicks. The team unity has really improved this year because we go out there and play for each other.”

Results of Western’s showing at nationals will be in Tuesday’s paper.

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