Ryerson men’s soccer team headed to playoffs

Raheem Rose and Jackson Tooke celebrating a 5-1 win against Nipissing University, Oct. 17, 2015. Courtesy Ryerson Athletics

Raheem Rose and Jackson Tooke celebrating a 5-1 win against Nipissing University, Oct. 17, 2015. (Courtesy Alex D’Addese/Ryerson Athletics)

The Ryerson men’s soccer team is hunting down the university’s first-ever team OUA championship title when the Rams started their playoff campaign at Downsview Park on Saturday at 5 p.m.

“We would love to bring an OUA (Ontario University Athletics) championship back to campus,” says associate coach Filip Prostran. “It would be something special. Not just for soccer, but for the athletic department and all the great work the athletic department has done.”

Ryerson plays lowest qualifying playoff team in the OUA East (either UOIT, Nipissing or Carleton) on Saturday in the first round of playoffs, the OUA quarterfinal. The team finished the regular season at 11-2-3 at the top of the OUA East, just one point ahead of its cross-city rival: the University of Toronto.

On a national level, the team finished fifth in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport rankings. York and Windsor, who finished third and fourth respectively, are both in the OUA. Ryerson will need to move past these teams to win the OUA Championship.

York spoiled the Rams’ OUA championship dreams in the 2013 final when the four-time CIS champions beat Ryerson 1-0.

If the team manages to reach the OUA final this year, it is guaranteed a spot at the CIS national tournament. Winning the OUA would improve the Rams’ seed at the dance.

The team’s sights are set on winning Ryerson’s first OUA championship.

The Rams’ winning ways date back to 2009, when Ivan Joseph was appointed head coach. That was the first year the team finished with a record above .500 since the 1970s. They have improved their win percentage ever since.

Maintaining a winning record is difficult for any school because of the high turnover – the roster changes as athletes graduate on a yearly basis.

To combat this, Prostran acknowledges the program’s focus on recruiting the best young players in soccer.

This article was published in the print edition of the Ryersonian on Oct. 28, 2015.

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