On October 10th, the varsity soccer team travelled to Vancouver to take on the best independent school teams across the country at CAIS. As some of you may know, the team had a successful campaign, defeating Applebee in the finals to secure the title of “National Champions”. The Blue and White assigned me to the team as a reporter in disguise, entrusted with analyzing the ups and downs of the tournament. As I sat on the bench, watching the team progress through each round, I developed a recap of CAIS.
(Note: Ronaldo, Messi, Neymar, and Dr. Hamr all agree that the team’s campaign likely would not have been as successful without me warming the bench for them, engaging in friendly conversation with players while they wheezed back in exhaustion between halves)
Game 1: Upper Canada College vs. St. George’s School Junior Varsity Team
In their first match of the group stages, UCC took on the host school’s JV team due to another school dropping out at the last minute. While a St. George’s student who aspires to be like Akash Kennedy-Ganesh reportedly wrote an article in the school’s publication “The Red and Black” highlighting why the JV soccer team is better than varsity, our boys silenced his delusions. We dominated the entire game and it wasn’t long before Justin Kim sent Sean Langlois a through ball and he chipped the keeper–following a practice the day before entirely focused on chip shots–to give the Blues the lead. From this point on, goals were scored at regular intervals and we finished with a 6-0 victory.
Game 2: Upper Canada College vs. Lower Canada College
In their second match of the group stages, our boys took on our rivals(?) from Montreal: Lower Canada College. In a game that was initially quite even with both schools having several chances to score, we were initially unable to capitalize on our goal scoring opportunities. However, after being brought down and not given a free kick, a determined Oscar Brown dribbled into the box and put a well-placed strike into the back of the net two minutes later, allowing us to secure a 1-0 victory. (Note: this was the only goal scored against LCC the entire tournament)
Game 3: Upper Canada College vs. The York School
Faiz Khwaja, starting goalkeeper. At least for this game. In the final game of the group stages, I was put in net. In nail-biting, down to the wire game where Khwaja saved the day on multiple occasions (not actually), we won 10-0 with both Brown and Alex Cinquino netting hattricks.
Quarter-Final: Upper Canada College vs. Crescent School
The Blues entered the quarter-finals against Crescent, one of our rivals. It wasn’t long before Langlois scored a goal off of a rebound. He followed this goal up with another, putting us up 2-0. Crescent had a brief glimpse of getting back into the game with a goal to make it 2-1, but this was quickly silenced after Brown extended the final scoreline to 3-1.
Semi-Final: Upper Canada College vs. St. George’s School
In perhaps the closest and most exciting match of the tournament, UCC took on the host school, St George’s, with both teams expecting a win. The Blues struck first, with Sean Langlois chipping a shot over the keeper that appeared to be heading wide. As a St. George’s defender and Sean both raced for the ball, he got there first and deposited it into the bottom corner, putting us up 1-0. Even at 1-0, the game was tight. However, Langlois decided it was too close for comfort and scored once again with an outside of the boot shot from the edge of the box going in bar down. This proved to be vital, as the St. George’s left winger–who may or may not play for the Vancouver Whitecaps, nobody really knows– got into our box and scored with a powerful shot. This left the game at 2-1, with our boys trying desperately to defend our lead. Our right back, Theodore Heintzman (possibly the team’s gentlest soul), took matters into his own hands, and in trying to keep the game exciting, received two yellow cards, resulting in him being sent off before half. This left us with 10 men, 45 minutes, and 1 goal to defend. In the second half, UCC took on a defensive role, clearing the ball out of our area time and time again. There were several close chances that rebounded off the (square-shaped) post or that were denied by the defence and keeper, Jeremy Zhang. We managed to hold on, and in the dying minutes of the game, Zhang made a clutch save to smash any of the St. George’s fans’ remaining hopes. Our boys managed a victory, putting us into the final. Final score: 2-1.
Final: Upper Canada College vs. Appleby College
This was it. The finals. UCC travelling all the way to Vancouver to take on a team that is a mere hour’s drive away from Toronto. Having defeated them in the regular season, we were relatively confident, but upon hearing they beat SAC 2-0 in the finals, we knew they should not be taken lightly. The game went underway and possession seemed to be evenly split. Early on, Appleby had a close chance from a free kick which hit the post and managed to stay out of the net. We also had a couple of chances to score but were unable to capitalize on them. After a brief conversation with the coach in which he was given some clever advice: to score, Luka Chu was substituted on as striker. He immediately had an effect on the game as he dribbled past defenders into the box and had a shot at net. The shot was parried by the keeper and Langlois ate up the rebound, putting us up 1-0. Chu was involved in the next goal as well, as he ran into Appleby’s penalty box. Rather than selfishly taking a shot, he passed it across the net to an open Oscar, who tapped it in to make it 2-0. Late in the second half, Chu’s hard work was finally rewarded as he chipped it over the charging Appleby keeper to secure the Blues’ 3-0 victory and along with it, the CAIS Championship. In addition, Oscar Brown won the award for MVP of the finals.
The team is currently unbeaten in the season and looks to continue their win streak with a game against Royal St. George’s School on Monday, October 23rd at home. Come out and support the boys!