On Sept. 25, the beautiful sunny sky and warm breeze made it a perfect day for the McGill men’s soccer team to defeat Sherbrooke’s Vert et Or (0–6). Through passionate play, the Redbirds (2–3–3) snatched a 2-0 victory on home turf.
Sherbrooke got the opening ball and McGill’s offensive game strategy kicked in immediately as fourth-year midfielder Boubacar Ouane quickly regained possession. The Redbirds began by playing a defensive game while Sherbrooke focused on offence. The Redbirds’ goalie, first-year Ludovyck Ciociola, was active in the cage and ready to pounce on the ball when needed.
Throughout the game, the Redbirds slowly reversed their defensive tide, making considerable progress up the field to the Sherbrooke goal with the midfielders leading the charge. Second-year midfielder Reese Carlow attempted a top-left corner shot, which was unsuccessful but gave some much-needed life to the Redbirds’ attack.
A close attempt from McGill forward and second-year Joseph Getz at 30:04 was followed by attempted shots from Pedro Gulli and Bilal Bouchemella, which were stopped by the Sherbrooke goalkeeper. With their spirit renewed, the Redbirds put continuous pressure on the Vert et Or and played more aggressively for the remainder of the game.
After stepping out of the cage and tackling another player, Ciociola received a red card at 32:59 and had to leave the game. The red card was met with contestation from the crowd, who argued that the Sherbrooke player was off-side. Fifth-year goaltender Chris Cinelli-Faia stepped in to replace Ciociola and Getz subbed out as the team had to now play with only 10 players as opposed to their usual 11.
The Redbirds did not let this inconvenience them and continued to play a strong offensive game with renewed effort from the entire team. Third-year midfielder Gaeten Hamid sent a beautiful shot across the field which ended in a missed header from Gulli in front of the passionate crowd. During his time in the first half, Cinelli-Faia successfully stopped both of Sherbrooke’s scoring attempts and, at half-time, the score was 0-0.
The Redbirds immediately took charge of the second half of the game, with fourth-year defender Julian Huster scoring at the 47-minute mark and eliciting an abundance of cheers from the crowd and his teammates.
“It felt amazing, not only for the personal achievement but for what it meant for the team in the moment of the game,” Huster told the The McGill Tribune. “I feel an immense amount of pride in scoring my first goal for McGill especially while we were playing with one man less.”
After the goal, both teams’ play became much less organized and much more aggressive. Thankfully, McGill head coach Marc Mounicot made a series of substitutions that allowed the Redbirds to regain energy on the field.
The Redbirds immediately asserted their dominance over the burnt-out Vert et Or. Sherbrooke put up a tough fight until the very end but unfortunately fouled McGill’s Getz, who was given a penalty kick at 85:39. Getz scored with ease and brought the score up to 2-0, driving an already electrified crowd wild.
“We should have taken our chances in the first half, but, thankfully, we managed to score two in the second half,” Getz said in a post-game interview with the Tribune. “I’m very satisfied with my goal today, however, I thought I could’ve scored another.”
The game ended with a 2-0 Redbirds victory over the Vert et Or who they will face again on Oct. 23.
Moment of the Game: Julian Huster rewarded McGill’s offensive effort with a goal right after half-time that enchanted the crowd and ignited the Redbirds.
Stat Corner: The red card given to netminder Ciociola is the first red card of the season for the Redbirds.
Quotable: “For the rest of the season, we’ve got to stay focused on each and every game as the league is super tight this year. I’m expecting our team to make the playoffs, and then I’m confident we’ll push through from there.” –Second-year Joseph Getz