National title in sight for Lions men’s soccer team

The York Lions men’s soccer team will compete for national supremacy this week at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport Men’s Soccer Championship, which is being hosted by the Carleton Ravens in Ottawa Nov. 6 to 9.

Douglas Sereti receiving his silver medal from Ward Dilse (executive director of OUA).Left: York Lions’ Douglas Sereti receiving his silver medal from Ward Dilse, OUA executive director

The team qualified for the national championship with a silver medal showing at the Ontario University Athletics championships this past weekend that were hosted by York at York Stadium on the Keele campus. The Lions opened the two-day event with a thrilling 2-1 victory over cross-town rivals the Toronto Varsity Blues in the semifinals. York got an early goal by Jamaal Smith but the lead was erased in the 86th minute when Toronto’s Dustin Chung scored the equalizer. With time winding down and only seconds left on the clock, rookie Jarek Whiteman deposited the ball into the back of the net to push the Lions into the gold medal game and give them a berth in the national championship.

On Sunday, under awful weather conditions that included near-freezing temperatures and violent winds, the Lions were up against the determined Laurier Golden Hawks and, despite numerous scoring chances, could not get the ball past Hawks goalkeeper Yousef El-Abbar. It wasn’t until the 104th minute that a goal was recorded, when Spencer Cawker took advantage of a communications lapse between two York players to score into an open net. That goal would stand as the only one of the game and Laurier won their first OUA title since 2000 while the Lions had to settle for the silver. Despite the defeat, York heads to Ottawa with an excellent chance to improve upon its fourth-place finish from last season.

Back at York, volleyball, hockey and badminton are on display throughout the weekend as the Lions will compete against OUA foes in continued regular season action.

Another two volleyball doubleheaders will take place as the men’s and women’s teams will face the Toronto Varsity Blues on Friday at 6pm and 8pm, and the Ryerson Rams on Sunday at noon and 2pm. Last weekend, the women’s team defeated the Western Mustangs, 3-2, and the Windsor Lancers, 3-0, to open the season 2-0, becoming one of only two OUA teams to remain undefeated on the season. The men also defeated the Lancers for their first win of the season but fell to the Mustangs.

The men’s and women’s hockey teams are both at home this weekend as they both look to snap losing streaks and get back into the win column. The men will host back-to-back games against the Windsor Lancers on Friday at 7pm and Saturday at 2pm, while the women will take on fierce rivals the Toronto Varsity Blues on Saturday at 7pm. The men have yet to face Windsor this year while the women will be taking on the Varsity Blues for the second time in two weeks. In their previous match-up, the Blues showed why they are ranked No. 5 in Canada by defeating the Lions 4-0.

Finally, the badminton team will play its last regular season contest against the McMaster Marauders in a match that will determine who gets the final OUA playoff spot. Both teams currently have identical 1-3 records and are tied for fourth in the OUA standings. Whoever wins this contest will qualify for the playoffs while the loser will be done for the year.

Submitted to YFile by Alyson Grant, sport & recreation information officer