Lions settle for OUA silver after loss to Gryphons

The York University Lions men’s soccer team came up just short in its bid for a fourth straight Ontario University Athletics (OUA) title, falling to the Guelph Gryphons by a score of 3-1 in the conference final on Sunday evening (Nov. 6) at Birchmount Stadium.

The defeat ended York’s run of three straight OUA banners, but the silver medal is the team’s seventh straight top-three finish in the conference. For the Gryphons, Sunday’s victory marks their first OUA championship in 26 years. The result also marked their first win over the Lions in at least 10 years. Going back to 2006, the Lions had compiled a 21-0-2 record against the Gryphons, including two regular season victories this year and a quarter-final triumph in the 2015 playoffs.

The Lions jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the ninth minute as rookie striker Milan Beader knocked in a loose ball after a corner kick for his second goal in as many days. But, that was the only ball they could get past Guelph goalkeeper Benjamin Caranci in the game.

The lead did not last long, as 14 minutes later the Gryphons equalled the score on a goal by Jace Kotsopoulos.

The Gryphons added to their lead just before the end of the half when a shot by rookie Alex Zis somehow eluded York goalkeeper Andrew D’Souza and bounced in off the left post.

Zis added his second of the game in the 55th minute to make it 3-1.

The Lions looked like they might go down 4-1 in the second half when Guelph was awarded a penalty kick, but D’Souza guessed right and came up with the huge save to keep the deficit at two. In the end it didn’t matter, however, as the Lions got many chances late but could not find the back of the net.

The two teams are now off to the national championships, which will be hosted by Guelph beginning on Thursday morning. The University of Toronto Varsity Blues have also qualified after defeating the host Ryerson Rams 2-1 in the bronze medal match earlier in the day.