For the first time in almost two years, the Rams men’s and women’s soccer teams were able to play together as a team in an organized contest this past weekend, as they played the University of Toronto Varsity Blues at Varsity Stadium.
The final results were not what both teams were looking for, however, with the men winning 1-0 and the women losing by the same score.
The Rams men’s team started the game dominating possession with an abundance of great scoring chances, but they were unable to convert in the first half. Rookie Jonathan Santos made his OUA debut, missing two early chances before setting up a scoring opportunity for a tap-in from six yards that was missed as well.
Third-year Varsity Blues midfielder Anthony Sousa lashed out at Santos, was given a red card and was kicked out of the game before the midway point. The game was scoreless at halftime.
Five minutes into the second half, Rams team captain Abdallah EL-Chanti received the ball on the left flank, where he proceeded to dribble into the box to get a good shot on net. He tried to bypass a defender, but was tripped by the opposing Varsity Blue, giving him a penalty shot.
With a chance to capitalize, EL-Chanti calmly slid the ball into the bottom right corner and then ran to the stands, telling all the fans in attendance it was ‘his house.’
“One of my best goals I’ve scored so far,” EL-Chanti said about his goal. Although it was just a penalty, it meant a lot more.”
For the rest of the second half the ball stayed in the midfield as neither team created any real goalscoring threats. The Rams came into the game wanting three points and a clean sheet and that’s what they finished with.
“I don’t remember a time they made any foolish plays like giving the ball away or a bad tackle, which is the sign of a great defensive line,” coach Filip Prostran said.
The Varsity Blues play the Rams men’s team on their home turf at Downsview Park this weekend. Kickoff is Saturday, Oct. 2 at 8 p.m.
Women’s team lose 1-0 on opening weekend
The women’s team saw the reverse result. After sustaining early pressure against the Varsity Blues in the first half, the University of Toronto took control of the game in the second half.
The Rams created a couple of chances, with Shea Jeffery-Novak making two long runs from the halfway line into the box that were ultimately stopped by the keeper.
The Rams defence kept them in the game as they thwarted wave after wave of pressure. The teams went into the locker rooms at halftime deadlocked at 0-0.
Centre back Emily Porteous put in a great shift as she made tackle after tackle to stop the Varsity Blues attacks. An amazing through ball from second-year Varsity Blue Rena Nakajima split the Ryerson defenders and found Miranda Badovinac all alone in the box where she coolly controlled the ball and passed it into the goal.
After the Varsity Blues got their goal, the Rams still failed to service their strikers with any real chances. Porteous collected a second yellow card to be sent off and the Rams fell 1-0.
The Rams women’s team plays the Varsity Blues in the reverse fixture next Saturday at Downsview Park. Kickoff is at 6 p.m.