Men’s soccer team comes up short

The SAIT men’s soccer team earned a chance to play for a medal twice but came up short on both attempts. The Trojans advanced to the medal round during ACAC provincials with a 2-1 quarter-final victory over the Grant MacEwan Griffins from Edmonton.

Goals came from Francisco Miron and Jordan Alvarez within two minutes of each other. Coach Grant Stevens, who handled both the men’s and women’s teams this year, said the better team won, but it was ugly.

“With this team, I’m not too sure about what group of players is going to turn up,” said Stevens. “In all my previous years at SAIT, I knew exactly what I was going to get . . . but with this lot, I don’t know who’s going to turn up.”

This marked the fourth straight year the Trojans have reached at least a provincial semifinal.
In their final four matchup, they faced the 8-2 Concordia Thunder.

Shaz Haque, a native of Sweden, scored the lone SAIT marker in the 48th minute on a transition from a corner kick.

The territorial advantage belonged to the Trojans for the most part, but they couldn’t get a lot of quality chances. Meanwhile SAIT goalie Justin Ennis had to come up big as the Thunder had many chances behind the Trojans defence.

“We should have won the game,” said Stevens. “You can’t have some players play well and some don’t. They played fundamentally and we tried to play a beautiful game of football and it just doesn’t work. Ennis played well and kept us in it.”

In the bronze medal match, the Trojans unexpectedly faced tournament hosts the Mount Royal University Cougars. MRU lost their semifinal against NAIT despite coming in with an 8-1-1 record. The Cougars dominated the Trojans once again with an 8-1 win as coach Stevens allowed a lot of the secondary players on his roster to see action.

“I’ve been trying to get this changed for the past two years. None of the coaches, over the years, want to play for bronze,” said Stevens.

“Myself and (the Cougars’) coaches agreed that everybody had a tough game (Saturday), and that we’d have a nice, quiet little game today.

“So I gave quite a few of our boys, who didn’t play a lot this year, a chance on the pitch. No cards, no one got hurt, and everyone enjoyed themselves.”

Robin Singh scored the loan goal for SAIT.

When wrapping up the year, the Trojans 16 newcomers and nine veterans made up a talented group, Stevens said. However, he said that group of rookies didn’t progress as quickly as he’d hoped through what is admittedly an extremely short seven-week ACAC season.

“It was a talented group, but they’ve never played at this level, where the game is so much harder,” he said. “This year, I had quite a few 17-year-olds who played U18, but now they’re playing against 23-, 24-year-old men who come from (the Alberta Major Soccer League).”

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