Tuesday, 25 October 2011

CIS Men Playoff preview: Queen's v Laurentian

Over the last ten days, the Queen's Gaels and Laurentian Voyageurs have played each other twice. Both games were hard fought, both were decided late, and both ended in draws.

This Wednesday, October 26th, they face each other again, this time in a sudden death playoff game, with the winner likely getting to face the University of Toronto on Sunday afternoon.

Playing each other three times in such a short period of time is going to give the two teams a good understanding of each other and is almost certain to cause a bit of bad blood between players based on the events of those prior games and the way that things fell out.

I'm going to take a brief look at the past two games between the teams, how they matched up, and what might be expected tomorrow afternoon.

The first time the two teams played, it was up in Sudbury. The temperature was bitterly cold, the rain came down constantly, and the field was in rough shape. Queen's took an early lead on a penalty by striker Peter Christidis, one of their most consistent players all season. Laurentian's striker Davor Alisic levelled the game with a penalty of his own 15 minutes later. Queen's striker Eric Koskins scored in the 70th, but Laurentian tied it up through a goal from Stephen Fattore in the 82nd minute to give a final score of 2-2.

The rematch was played at Queen's at the new turf field north of Richardson Stadium. The weather was quite nice, not too cold, and the sun shone for most of the game. Once again, the two teams were evenly matched. Queen's took the lead on the break of halftime with a goal from Pat Zanetti. He added a second in the 55th, but Queen's gave up two quick goals in the 72nd and 73rd minutes. The first was a scored on a rebound from a penalty by Andrew Posteraro, and the second a back-post header by Faruk Yahaya. Laurentian took the lead in the 90th minute on a confused defensive play and a long free kick, but Nathan Klemencic took advantage of the celebrations by Laurentian and tied things up on the last kick of the game.

Both teams played the same goalkeepers for each game, Dylan Maxwell for Queen's and Matt George for Laurentian. Both are very strong players with Maxwell being the more athletic of the two, but George making up for it with his size and aggressiveness.

Queen's has a significantly bigger defensive line than Laurentian, and in the game played at Queen's, the defenders won almost every ball put their way in the air. Laurentian's back line was much smaller, but played more consistently during the course of the game. After giving up the first goal in the second game, the Queen's back line became a little disorganized and at times seemed like they were trying to do too much individually. On the other hand, the Laurentian defense played the same way at 2-0 down as they had when the game was scoreless. Overall, Queen's has a stronger defense, but has to keep in the game, no matter the scoreline.

In terms of the midfield, both teams went with a standard four midfielders in front of the four defense, and the two matched up quite well. In the game played at Queen's, when the ball went through Jordan Brooks on the wing, Queen's was able to move it through the Laurentian players well and consistently. The other three starting midfielders were generally outmatched by Laurentian, especially through the centre. Pat Zanetti was much better than his Laurentian counterparts at moving into the attack to support the strikers, evidenced by his two goals in the game.

Up front, Peter Christidis from Queen's was the strongest of the strikers on the pitch for either team, and played more of a deep striker role, dropping back to support his midfield, and pushing up to challenge the Laurentian defense. Despite his smaller stature, he was able to win a number of headers against Laurentian's defenders, and with his speed, he could push the ball past his mark and often win the chase. The Laurentian attackers were both smaller, but both had a good deal of speed to use against the Queen's defense.

As evidenced by the two games played a week apart, the Queen's Gaels and Laurentian Voyageurs are very evenly matched, and any goals are likely going to come from defensive errors or brilliant plays. If both teams play the same (or similar) starting lineups to this past Sunday's, then it would not be a surprise if the game goes to extra time or even all the way to penalties. I think that Queen's has the slight edge in this game, simply due to the long travels that Laurentian has to make, and the potential for home field advantage by Queen's.

The game is set to kick off at 1pm on Wednesday afternoon at the north turf field by Richardson Stadium at West Campus.


  1. Great stuff, thanks for the preview.

    CIS is woefully under-covered, so keep up the good work.

    Game in Toronto on Sunday? May have to head out for that, a rare double local football weekend - CSL on Saturday, CIS Sunday, Sweet.

  2. On the men's side of things, UofT is definitely hosting a game on Sunday afternoon, it's just a toss-up as to who it is against. York will also be hosting on Sunday, but the time is TBA still.

    Before that, Ryerson is hosting Trent on Thursday at 6:30 at St. Michael's Field (not sure where that is though).

    For the women, Ryerson is playing UofT tonight at 6pm at Varsity Stadium.

    Post-game today, I hope to be able to put together a mini-weekend preview for both the men's and women's OUA quarter-finals.