Saturday, 17 September 2011

University Men: Queen's Gaels 1, RMC Paladins 0

The second game of the day was scheduled to be played on Tindall Field on the main Queen's campus due to a scheduling conflict at Richardson Stadium with the football team. As such, I decided to skip home to grab some dinner after the early game and then headed down to the men's game, arriving just in time to see the second half kick off.
I found a place in the stands, and they were quite busy, with easily well over 100 people in attendance including a group of girls with facepaint and bodypaint. I was quickly informed that the score was 0-0 and that neither team had looked too spectacular in the first half, but Queen's had the majority of the play. For the second half, Queen's came out with guns blazing, pressing RMC hard and putting a lot of through balls in for their strikers, Peter Christidis and Lucas Lobo. The RMC defense played very well, forcing the Queen's players to the outside, and when they did give up shots, the RMC GKJhordan Dorringtonshowed his athleticism with some fantastic stops.

One play that stood out for me was when Queen's midfielder Patrick Zanetti lost the ball in the middle of the field, chased it down, and blocked a clearance before pushing the ball forward to Christidis, who volleyed the ball just wide of the post. On this, like several other goalkicks, the RMC GK began to waste time, ignoring the ball boy and fetching the ball further away from his goal.

About halfway through the second half of play, Dorrington played a ball down with his feet and delayed picking it up. Lobo charged in and just after Dorrington picked up the ball, Lobo clipped his ankle and took a caution for his behaviour. The general feeling on the sideline was that the GK had taken a dive, but Lobo had charged in a bit harder than maybe he should have. Moment after, Lobo picked the ball up off of the free kick clearance and broke in, almost alone. It looked like his arm was being held back by one of the defenders, but no call was made on the play.

Most of the traffic was toward the RMC goal, but there were some occasional counter attacks. Unfortunately most of them broke down due to either poor touches, excellent defensive plays by the two Queen's centrebacks, or offside calls. One of these calls was disputed by an RMC midfielder, and he was cautioned for his dissent.

One of the best attacking players for RMC was their #13, who seemed to be splitting his time between acting as a striker and an attacking midfielder. He challenged most every ball up the field, and pressured the Queen's defenders whenever possible. He did get involved with the Queen's GK Marshal Peacock on an aerial play where Peacock got his hands on the ball, and the RMC player clattered him to the ground, taking a caution for the challenge.

After the referee had indicated 3 minutes of added time to finish the game, Queen's were awarded a throw-in about 30 yards from the RMC endline. Zanetti stepped up and fired the ball into the penalty area. Dorrington came out and punched the ball away, but unluckily it fell almost right to a Queen's player. The long shot was fired in and Dorrington palmed the ball away, almost right onto the head of first year Queen's midfielder Henry Bloemen. His header went off of the bar and came right back to him and he was able to head the ball just past the outstretched arms of Dorrington.

With the goal, the entire Queen's team celebrated in the near corner while a number of the RMC players held their heads in their hands. The play was both exhilarating and disappointing, all at the same time. It was exciting to see a goal finally scored in the game, but disappointing to see RMC concede after defending so well over the course of the second half. The final whistle was blown soon after with a 1-0 final score. Through 3 games, Queen's has not yet given up a goal while RMC has been unable to score a goal this season.

After the game, I spoke briefly with Chris Gencarelli, the Queen's coach, and he commented that he felt that Queen's had played a bit flat in the first half, but that they'd come out and played much better in the second half of the match. Both Queen's teams play again today up in Peterborough against Trent; the women at 1pm and the men at 3:15pm.

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