The York Lions men’s soccer team captured the Canadian Interuniversity Sport national championship on Sunday with a thrilling 1-0 victory over Langley, BC’s Trinity Western Spartans. The championship is the team’s first in more than 30 years and the first national title for York in any sport since 1990.
Left: The York Lions in action. Photo courtesy Freestylephotography.com.
Fourth-year midfielder David Nogaro was the unlikely hero of the game, coming in from the bench in the second half and depositing the ball into the back of the net in the 83rd minute. The late goal was all the Lions would need to hang on for the championship despite major pressure from the Spartans in the dying minutes of the game as they looked for the equalizer.
Second-year defenceman Gerard Ladiyou, who was named an all-Canadian on Thursday, received tournament MVP honours for his stellar play in all three games. He was also named to the tournament all-star squad along with teammates Francesco Bruno, Philip Rivers and Douglas Sereti.
|Above: The winning team celebrates its historic accomplishment. Photo courtesy Freestylephotography.com.|
“It was a wonderful display of a lot of hard work, passion and sacrifice from a group that has a lot of ability and showed a lot of integrity,” said Head Coach Carmine Isacco of his team’s play in the tournament.
From the opening kickoff on Sunday, both teams pressed hard to get on the score sheet. The Lions had more scoring chances throughout the game but the Spartans defence managed to distinguish each of them. On one play, a shot by York cleared the goalkeeper but was headed out of danger at the goal-line by a Spartan, keeping the game tied. Trinity Western also generated a few scoring chances of their own but Lions goalkeeper Alim Karim made a couple of beautiful saves, including one where he tapped the ball just over the top of the net as it sailed near the goal-line.
When the referee blew the final whistle of the game, the Lions rushed the field to celebrate their achievement. Championship hats were handed out and a few minutes later, the team received their gold medals, the Sam Davidson Memorial Trophy and the championship banner.
Right: Rushing the field following the final whistle of the game. Photo courtesy
"Today’s victory is an unbelievable achievement for the soccer program at York and it has been a culmination of terrific support from Sport York over the past four years,” said Master Coach Paul James. “It has been a display of incredible character and talent by our players and a magnificent coaching performance by Carmine. I am unbelievably proud to be a member of York University today.”
In the bronze medal game, the Montreal Carabins outlasted the Laval Rouge et Or 2-1 in overtime to secure third place.
For more information on York’s sports history, visit the Past Champions Web page.
Submitted to YFile by Alyson Grant, sport & recreation information officer