The Mustangs men’s soccer team suffered a tough loss on Friday night against the Laurier Golden Hawks.
With the final score sitting at 3-2 in favour of Wilfred Laurier University, the Western University men's squad fought tirelessly trying to grasp victory but just fell short.
The Mustangs began the game energetically — they passed well and were able to quickly move out out the ball when it came onto their side.
The first goal of the game came from the Mustangs' striker, Nimi Adeyemo, who picked up the ball just past the opponent’s defence, and finished the job with a hard drive to the net.
The Mustangs dominated the ball for most of the first half, a goal the Stangs' had set for themselves, according to head coach Parker Seymour.
“We had an idea that we were going to have more of the ball tonight, which we did,” said Seymour. “We prepared and trained more for that.”
But in the waning minutes of the first half, Laurier began to bounce back. The Golden Hawks' defence began to find their rhythm and their forwards found open spaces to create scoring opportunities.
Thirty-eight minutes into the game, Golden Hawks' dynamic forward Glorious Okpali put Laurier on the board with a sharp shot to the back of the net, closing out the first half.
The score sitting at 1-1 entering the second half, both teams regrouped and came to battle it out with even more intensity.
Still riding the hot streak from his goal in the first half, Okpali sank another goal for the Golden Hawks within the first few minutes of the second half.
Determined, the Mustangs buckled down and again tied the score. An exceptional pass from midfielder Cristian Devia put the ball straight to Jamu Iluya who scored the second goal of the game for the Mustangs.
With such tight competition, fans and players the same were highly emotional. Contentious calls exacerbated the competitive tensions between the two teams, resulting in some unexpected outbursts.
Excessive yelling and derogatory comments towards the referees on part of Laurier’s head coach, Mario Halapir, resulted in Halapir being ejected from the game.
Indicative of the general unease, a number of fouls were called, a number of players were pulled because of injury and both teams became somewhat scrambled.
After 70 minutes of play, Laurier’s Matt Walraven would score the third goal for the Golden Hawks', determining the final score and pulling Laurier ahead by one.
While the end result was disappointing for the Mustangs, head coach Seymour believes this will be good preparation for their game on Sunday against McMaster University.
“McMaster is a historically good team: they are very direct opponents and very physical. We had good preparation for that tonight,” said Seymour. “We have to adjust to prepare for that, focusing more on heavy defence, direct play and also in transition how we counter attack when we win the ball.”
The Mustangs will take on the McMaster Marauders in Hamilton on Sunday, Sept. 8 at 3 p.m.