The Ryerson Rams men’s soccer team shut out the UOIT Ridgebacks 2-0 Sunday in the Ontario University Athletics quarter-finals in what was one of its best defensive performances of the year.
The Rams got off to a quick start, as fourth-year mid-fielder Martin Dabrowksi beat Ridgebacks goalkeeper Travis Martin to give Ryerson a 1-0 lead at the 16-minute mark.
The men didn’t look back from there. After dominating ball possession and generating multiple quality scoring chances, Luka Lee doubled their lead just before the end of the first half, pushing a Nick Lambis header over the line.
Dabrowski and Viktor Anastasov led the team in shot attempts with three apiece.
Although the offence was impressive against UOIT, the story of the game was the outstanding defensive effort.
Rams defender Josh Kohn said the team had been working hard on its defence, and it paid off on Sunday. “Defensive shape is all we’ve been focusing on and we made sure that today was on point for that,” said Kohn.
Kohn wasn’t exaggerating.
In the second half, Ryerson played a stingy game, preventing UOIT from even attempting a shot on goal. Rams goalkeeper Christian Maraldo only had to make one measly save for the shutout.
The Rams’ journey to OUA supremacy doesn’t get any easier this weekend, but pressure-filled games — like the one on Sunday — will help prepare the players for what they can expect in the semifinal Nov. 1.
Ryerson associate coach Fil Prostran says it was important all the men — including the younger players — felt involved in the win Sunday. “They need to feel what this environment is like. Being on the bench, and then playing next year, is not enough until you’re out on the field. Everyone feels involved when everyone plays, and everyone plays an important role on this team,” said Prostran.
The Rams’ semifinal match is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Saturday against the McMaster Marauders. You can catch Ryerson in action at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton.