Concordia's Thursday Report

Vol. 28, No.5

November 6, 2003


On the ball: Soccer team heads to championships

by John Austen

For the first time since 1998, the Concordia men’s soccer team will take part in the CIS National Championships beginning today at l’Université de Montréal. The Stingers earned the right by upending Trois-Rivières 2-1 in the Conference semifinal match-up last Friday. Both Concordia and the host U de M Carabins will represent Quebec at the Nationals.

The Stingers knew they had at least another week left in the season when they took on No. 4 ranked Carabins in the Conference Championship last Sunday afternoon. A Stinger giveaway in the eighth minute led to the only goal of the game as the Carabins’ Julien de la Riera scored on a breakaway giving his squad the 1-0 win and the Quebec university title.

“Our guys knew we had more soccer to play after this championship game, but I really don’t think we were looking ahead. That’s not why we lost,” veteran Stinger coach Vladimir Pavlicik said after the match. “You have to remember we were the underdogs here. The Carabins have been the class of the league all year and are the No. 4 ranked team in the country.” 

The game was played in chilly three-degree temperatures, but it could have been much worse.

“I remember coming here for a football game here last year in October and it was snowing, windy and like minus 10,” said Stephen Briere, 33, who was at the game cheering on the Stingers. “It wasn’t that windy out there today, so it wasn’t too bad. Still it’s tough to come back in conditions like this when you get down a goal early.”

The Carabins took control of the ball early in the first half but Concordia’s strong defensive play limited the number of offensive chances. Pavlicik says that the Carabins were quicker to the ball and took advantage of a miscue.

“One defensive mistake and we’re down 1-0 early,” said Pavlicik. “It’s tough to come back against a team like that because they’re quick and have very skilled players.”

The Stingers hadn’t lost a game since Oct. 10 and squeaked into the playoffs by beating McGill 1-0 on Oct. 26 in a driving rainstorm. The Stingers won four and tied two of their last six games to end the regular season at seven wins, four losses and three ties.

“I’m very proud of my boys and the character they have shown all year,” said Pavlicik. “And the good news is we have more soccer to play.”

The Stingers open play today (4 p.m., Stade CEPSUM) against the Western winner. The National championships wrap up on Saturday afternoon.