(KAMLOOPS, BC) – (U SPORTS) - Seven goals in a soccer match, especially a Canadian university soccer match, isn't that common. But that was the case on Day Two of the 2017 U SPORTS Respect Group Men's Soccer Championship.
In the first consolation semi-final, the Carleton Ravens downed the UNB Varsity Reds 4-3.
Carleton opened the scoring in the 24th minute, off a corner kick. Emad Houche launched a ball from the right side of the goal and Ricky Comba leapt into the air and headed it past Evan Barker in the Varsity Reds net.
Carleton took that 1-0 lead to the half, outshooting UNB 14-4 in the first.
The second half started with a bang as the Varsity Reds' got on the board in the 54th minute. Second half sub Ben Gorringe took a long shot that completely fooled the Ravens' keeper.
"It wasn't anything magical that I said," UNB head coach Miles Pinsent stated. "We changed our setup a little bit. We played against teams that had used that same formation quite a bit throughout the year. We have a set up that we use that has been quite successful against that. We changed it up a bit and brought in some fresh legs because it was our fifth game in eight days."
Forty seconds later, UNB marched down the field again and U SPORTS All-Canadian Joe Hamilton's shot was juggled by the Carleton keeper and wound up in the net, putting the Varsity Reds up 2-1.
The floodgates opened after that.
In the 58th minute, Carleton tied it at two when U SPORTS Rookie of the Year Gabriel Bitar scored. But just 23 seconds later, Kalen Park of the Varsity Reds saw some open ground and took it, forcing the Ravens keeper to commit before pushing the ball to Gorringe, who potted his second of the contest, giving UNB a 3-2 advantage.
"Ben is a key player for us for sure," added Pinsent. "Unfortunately, he got injured in the warmup of our first conference play down match. He didn't play at all in our conference. Our trainer said we could use him sparingly here. He had 15 or 20 minutes yesterday. We wanted to give him a long run today."
That lead was short-lived. Carleton tied it up in the 66th minute when Bitar took a pass from Dante Cobisa and found the back of the net.
Then in stoppage time, the Ravens scored the winner. Midfielder Tristan St. Pierre scored to make sure his side would play another day.
Carleton advances to Saturday's consolation final.
Ravens coach Kwesi Loney acknowledged it was a wild one.
"You play the first half and it's all over," he said. "The second half, you should never take a quality team like UNB for granted. They took it to us in that second half."
Both coaches praised their players for coming up with a strong effort after losing 24 hours earlier.
"There were two or three lead changes in the second half," said Loney. "It was definitely interesting for the people watching at home and those in the stands. A little too much excitement for me, but I am glad we finished out on top at the end."