by Brett Hedges
The Lance – Sports Editor
Another marquee men’s soccer matchup at Alumni Field yielded another positive result for the home team as the Lancers earned a 2-1 win over the McMaster Marauders in OUA regular season play this past weekend.
In a rematch of Windsor’s lone loss of the season, a 2-1 setback in early September, the Lancers needed to finish the final ten minutes of the match with 10 men after Tony Falkestajn received his second yellow card of the match and was subsequently sent off the pitch.
With the victory over the seventh-ranked Marauders, the fifth-ranked Lancers remain in first place in the OUA West division at 9-1-1 for 28 points while McMaster fall to 8-3 and the idle, third-ranked York Lions remain 7-1-2.
Lancers director of soccer operations Steve Hart said the high-energy match was what Windsor expected coming in and now head into an important pair of weekend matches against the Guelph Gryphons and Brock Badgers at Alumni Field Oct. 9 and 10.
“McMaster came in off of a good win against Western and we had a day off but we practiced hard in the rain after the football game Saturday,” said Hart. “We were out here for two hours, worked out, watched video and we adjusted a few things.”
Some great passing early in the game got Windsor on the board first with Leighton Speechley-Price finding the back of the net in the eighth minute off of a strong individual play from Chris Al-Youssef. The Lancers’ strong formation throughout the half allowed them to control the game and hold the one-goal lead heading into the second half.
Hart believed the score could have been much larger at halftime had the Lancers capitalized on more scoring opportunities.
“I thought for sure we were more than valued for one at half, I was a bit disappointed it wasn’t three or four,” said Hart. “When we talked to them at halftime, we knew they were going come in here and make it a rough game in the second half.”
Windsor extended their lead just two minutes into the second half when rookie Noah Pio pulled three Marauder defenders and their goalie out of the net and squeezed a pass to Speechley-Price who tapped it into the open net for his second of the game and 10th of the season.
McMaster got on the board 10 minutes later when a scramble in front of the Lancer net allowed Stefan Sholtz to get the ball past Lancer goaltender Kyle Vizirakis, ending his shutout streak at six and a half matches or very close to 600 minutes without surrendering a goal.
The final ten minutes proved to be a challenge for both teams as four yellow cards and a red card were handed out over the waning minutes of regulation and injury time but the Lancers used their experience of playing a man down early in the season to their advantage. After Falkestajn was sent off, Windsor adjusted to a four-four-one formation and parked all 10 defenders in front of their goal and disrupted any McMaster attempts for an equalizer.
As the final whistle sounded, the Lancers held on to earn their seventh straight victory and second consecutive win over a CIS Top Ten team.
Speechley-Price said the character and togetherness of the team allowed them to pull through yet again in a tight match.
“If we keep doing that, there is no reason why we can’t win this league,” said Speechley-Price. “This was a massive win and we have more coming up. This is going to be the year, if ever, that Windsor wins something. From what I’ve heard this is the best team we’ve had and I’m thrilled to be part of it and to be part of the squad.”
A short turnaround between matches sees the Lancers men’s team host Guelph Oct. 9 at 8:15 p.m. then battle Brock the next afternoon at 3:15 p.m.