Bruins equalize late and survive penalties to advance to national title game
In an environment built for a Hollywood sound stage — with dramatic lighting, a partisan crowd and a steady rain — the Sheridan Bruins men’s soccer team (10-2-1) complied with the narrative, equalizing in the 82nd minute and then winning the penalty shootout 5-4, to earn a 2-1 victory over Garneau in the national semi final.
“I thought we played well, although it was a little bit different from how we played yesterday from a tactical standpoint, since we had more possession and were attacking,” head coach Andrew Seuradge said. “We were pushing for goals early, we got caught with the PK, but that stuff happens in the game. We changed things up a bit late to try to push forward even more, got the equalizer and then handled our business very well in the penalties.”
Garneau struck first from the spot in the 22nd minute, having earned the penalty after Sheridan keeper Daniel Voci clipped the attacker, trying to smother a partial breakaway towards the top of the area.
Voci would prove critical throughout however, making several big stops, including a number on clear or partial breakaway opportunities.
Garneau were able to generate some of those opportunities due to the space that Sheridan was leaving at the back, as they pushed forward looking for the equalizer and in the 82nd minute that pressure would pay off when Raheem Edwards pulled them level.
Molham Babouli threaded a ball threw a pair of defenders for Edwards, who was able to run onto it and create just enough space between himself and his defender to fire a left-footed blast high on the short side from eight yards out.
Once in the penalty shootout, both sides were clinical in their finishing with the first four shooters from each side — David Velastegui, Babouli, Manny Morgado and Edwards for Sheridan — converting their attempts.
The game fittingly turned after yet another tremendous effort from Voci, who sprawled to his left to stop the fifth attempt and provide Tarek Robertson with the opportunity to seal the victory, which he did.
The victory propels the Double-Blue into the national championship game on November 8 (1 pm) against the VIU Mariners, runners-up from the PacWest.“I feel good, we know it’s going to be a tough game,” he said. “It’s the national final and there’s no such thing as an easy national final. From what we’ve seen this week, they are a very solid club. We’re going to try to take the same approach we take to every game, try to out-work and try to score goals.”
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