Lions men’s soccer host Golden Hawks for OUA quarter-final

The York University Lions men’s soccer team will welcome the Wilfrid Laurier University Golden Hawks to York Stadium on Sunday afternoon (Oct. 27) for an Ontario University Athletics (OUA) quarter-final game beginning at 4pm.

The two squads will be battling for one of four spots in the OUA Final Four Championships next weekend at the home of the highest remaining seed in the OUA East. Sunday’s game can also be seen live online on LionsTV.

The Lions, ranked No. 3 in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS), are the top seeds in the OUA West after winning their seventh straight division title with a 13-2-1 regular-season record. The squad was once again an offensive force throughout the regular season, scoring 53 goals in 16 Soccergames, 20 more than any other team in the division. The Lions were also solid on defence with 12 goals allowed, the second-lowest total in the west.

The York University Lions men’s soccer take on the Wilfrid Laurier University Golden Hawks Sunday

The Lions had three players in the top 10 in OUA scoring, led by team leaders Mark-Anthony Kaye (Toronto) and Jonathan Lao (Unionville, Ont.). Kaye and Lao, who are second- and first-year midfielders, respectively, each scored 11 goals this season to finish tied for second in the conference.

Second-year striker Joseph Cicchillo (North York, Ont.) netted eight goals in 14 games to finish tied for seventh in OUA scoring.

York’s only two losses of the season came against the same team, the two-time defending OUA champion McMaster Marauders by 1-0 scores. Their only other blip in the schedule was a 2-2 draw with the Golden Hawks two weeks ago, although in that contest the Lions were without Kaye and standout rookie Dylan Sacramento (Unionville, Ont.), who scored four goals in just six games.

The Golden Hawks finished the regular season with a 6-4-6 record and in sixth place in the OUA West standings with 24 points, and advanced to the quarter-finals with an upset victory over the Guelph Gryphons in the first round on Wednesday. The Golden Hawks came back twice from a goal down, once in the first half and again in extra time, and then won in the seventh round of the penalty-kick shootout.

Laurier was also strong down the stretch of the regular season, posting draws with the second-place Marauders and third-place Gryphons in their final two contests. The Golden Hawks finished with an even goal differential, scoring 20 and allowing the same amount this season. Their leading scorer was Matthew Maughn (Mississauga, Ont.) with five goals, tying him for 16th in the OUA.

In addition to the 2-2 draw between the two squads, the other meeting between York and Laurier resulted in a dominant 7-0 victory for the Lions, their most lopsided win of the year. Cicchillo netted three goals in the game, while Lao, Sacramento, Benjamin Futoriansky (Richmond Hill, Ont.) and Domenic Gullo (Newmarket, Ont.) scored one each.

The Lions have qualified for the OUA semifinals in every year but one (2009) since head coach Carmine Isacco took over the program in 2007. They won the OUA title that first year and since then have also won two OUA silver and two OUA bronze medals, as well as a pair of national championships in 2008 and 2010.

The front-runners to host the OUA Final Four Championships are the No. 2 nationally ranked Ryerson Rams, who finished first in the OUA East with an undefeated 12-0-2 record. They will host the Toronto Varsity Blues in the quarter-finals.