by Richard Riosa
The Lance – Sports Editor
The Lancer men’s and women’s soccer teams have both crashed out of the OUA playoffs in the first round after disappointing results.
Both teams suffered heartbreaking loses Oct. 22. The men fell 1-0 away to Western thanks to an injury time header and the women were swept aside 2-1 by Guelph at Alumni Field after a penalty shootout.
The men kept possession for much of the game against Western, but according to head coach Steve Hart, they had a hard time finding their attacking rhythm.
“Western had one tactic against us,” said Hart. “That was to thump the ball long… It was quite disgraceful actually. It was just kick and run – kick and chase the ball.”
Hart said he was proud of the way his team tried to play, despite the disappointment of the end result.
Much like the men, the women dominated possession against the Gryphons, however the breakthrough would not come for the Lancers until the 102nd minute. With the game looking wrapped up, Guelph capitalized on a defensive lapse to tie the match with little more than one minute remaining.
Assistant coach Stacey Ditchfield said losing after controlling much of the game was a very difficult thing to accept.
“It takes five seconds for a mental breakdown to be the difference between a win and a loss and tonight is an example,” said Ditchfield.
Both teams will be optimistic for next year after failing to reach expectations this season. There was some truly beautiful soccer played at Alumni Field this season, but the end product just wasn’t always there.
Hart said he will be returning to Europe in the off-season for recruiting, as well as looking for more local talent to help fill in at goalkeeper, central defence and possibly up front. Hart said he believes both teams deserved to win and is itching to get another crack at the OUA next year.
“It is devastating,” said Ditchfield. “They don’t deserve it. We deserve to win.”
Both teams will now have to wait until next season to make another attempt at a successful playoff run.