Lions down Ravens, claim fourth OUA banner in five years

The York University Lions men’s soccer team won their fourth Ontario University Athletics (OUA) banner in five seasons on Saturday afternoon with a 2-0 victory over the Carleton Ravens at Alumni Field.

Playing in their fifth straight final and looking to be crowned champions again after a silver medal result last year, the Lions played a solid game from beginning to end to reclaim the Blackwood Cup. It is their sixth in program history, while the Ravens’ second-place finish is their best since also winning silver in 2012.

The Lions men’s soccer team claimed their fourth OUA banner in five years

Both teams had scoring chances in the first half, but none of them were particularly dangerous until just seconds before the end of the first 45 minutes. With time ticking down and the Lions in Carleton’s end, Joey Cicchillo made a great one-on-one play to take possession of the ball. He passed it to Jonathan Lao in the middle of the field, who turned and passed it to a streaking Dylan Carreiro coming up the left wing. Carreiro made a nifty move and then fired the ball into the bottom right corner of the net to give the Lions a 1-0 lead at the half.

The Lions came out of the break flying and forced Carleton goalkeeper Nick Jeffs to make a pair of saves in the first 10 minutes.

In the 71st minute, the Lions finally got the insurance marker they were seeking thanks to Cicchillo. He got the ball near midfield and went in on net with just one defender near him. Jeffs came out to the top of the box to try and stop the breakaway, but Cicchillo tapped the ball around him and then fired it into a wide-open net for the second goal.

As time wound down, the Ravens pressed for a goal, but the Lions’ stout defence cleared numerous shots from the box and goalkeeper Quillan Roberts was forced to make just one save in the second half. He made five total for the game, while Jeffs stopped four.

Earlier in the afternoon, the Ryerson Rams defeated the McMaster Marauders by a 3-0 score in the battle for the OUA bronze medal.

Arya Hemati opened the scoring just 12 minutes into the game, and three minutes later Nick Lambis added to Ryerson’s lead with his second of the playoffs to give the Rams a 2-0 advantage at the half.

McMaster’s starting goalkeeper, Jesse Di Domenico, came out of the game at the half with an injury, and then in the 65th minute back-up Tristan Joyce also got hurt, forcing the Marauders to put a bench player, Alex Matsubara, in net. He played the final 25 minutes and made one save, but in the 90th minute Daniel Merean put the ball behind him to round out the scoring for the Rams.

Both the Lions and Ravens had already qualified for the U SPORTS championships taking place next week at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, B.C. The full tournament seeding and schedule will be announced on Sunday after the final qualifying teams are determined.