Mountaineers open OCAA soccer with a tie and a loss

mountaineersThe Mohawk men’s soccer team opened the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association regular season battling Humber College to a 1-1 draw Wednesday (Sept. 15) at Mohawk Sports Park.

After a scoreless first half, the Mountaineers made a breakthrough just before the midway mark of the second half when Sirwan Irandost converted a hard and confident penalty kick. However, a few minutes later the Hawks took advantage of a Mohawk defensive lapse and Aleks Janjic put home the equalizer.

It was an intense battle between these two rivals and late in the first half both teams were reduced to 10 men when Mohawk’s Gaafar Wahbi and Humber’s Andrew De Silva were sent off after a set-to.

Mohawk head coach Richard Bennett said his team let the game slip away. “We had the better chances, but when you don’t take them, Humber will make you pay.

“But overall, I’m happy with the way the team played. The players were a bit nervous at the start. They didn’t want to make mistakes. But they settled down later.”

In the women’s game, Humber blanked Mohawk 2-0, scoring in each half.

Joanna Alexopulos, an All-Canadian last year, got the first goal for the Hawks in the 29th minute and Connie Tamburello got an insurance marker, taking advantage of a loose Mohawk defence in the 66th minute.

It was a tough defeat for veteran goalkeeper Alex Martinez of the Mountaineers, who made several big saves including two clear chances by Humber in the first half where she had to dive to her right to stop good shots along the ground. In both instances and a few other times during the contest, Humber was able to play through balls up the middle.

Mohawk head coach Renzo Castellani said that’s the experience of the Hawks’ side which took advantage of Mohawk’s first year players.

“Humber has gone to the nationals regularly the last several years. They have really experienced players.”

But Castellani was far from displeased with his rookies or the effort displayed by his squad as a whole. “The rookies were very good and the goalie was superb,” said the coach. “One thing I think we need, however, is a bit more fitness.”