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Dinos edge Golden Bears in Men’s soccer

By Scott Strasser, September 18 2014 —

After losing their opening three games, the Dinos men’s soccer team earned their first win of the season with a 2–1 comeback victory over the University of Alberta Golden Bears on Sunday, Sept. 14.

Goals for the Dinos came from third-year winger Kieran Lane-Oppenheim and fourth-year centre-back Jason Genee. Striker Tolu Esan scored the lone goal for the Bears.

Sunday’s win puts the Dinos record at 1–3–0 after two weeks of Canada West action.

The Bears sit second in the Canada West Prairies division with a 3–1–0 record.

“This is the hardest schedule we’ve had in a number of years, playing Saskatchewan and Alberta right out of the gate,” said Dinos head coach Brian McDonnell. “So to get three points was massive for us today, especially after the loss yesterday.”

The game exploded after the first 20 minutes. Bears forward Tolu Esan pounced on a loose rebound off his initial shot, rounded Dinos keeper Colin Hasick and slotted the ball into the net from a tight angle in the 24th minute.

The Dinos responded,  in the 28th minute with Lane-Oppenheim heading in his first goal of the season, following a cross from Dinos newcomer Massimo Megna. The 5’8 Oppenheim ghosted ahead of the 6’4 Bears centre-back to power his header into the top corner.

For the rest of the first half, the Bears looked like they might pull ahead. Goal scorer Esan and striker Jermele Campbell peppered Hasick with a series of shots from in and around the box.

Hasick, who was starting in his first Canadian Interuniversity Sport game since 2012, finished the game with a career-high 16 saves.

“The door opened for Colin today and he did more than his share of coming in and taking the reins,” McDonnell said. “I’m happy for his performance and hopefully he can build on it.”

Despite the Bears having the lion’s share of chances, it was the Dinos who finished the first half in front. A free-kick from second-year midfielder Andrew Hood in the 41st minute was deflected into the Bears net by Genee.

The second half was marked more by its rough play than scoring chances with a handful of yellow cards dished out to both sides for late tackles.

“You ask your players to play with physical intensity, but they have to know when and where to do it,” McDonnell said. “It’s a fine line. If they get a booking, you have to make a decision — can you trust that they won’t get another one, or do you have
to pull them off?”

Even though no goals were scored in the second half, there was still plenty of action from both teams. Hood and third-year striker Dominic Russo looked dangerous for the Dinos, while Esan and Campbell provided the attacking threat for the Bears.

Russo combined well with Hood in the 70th minute, but Bears keeper Connor James parried Russo’s shot out for a corner kick. Following an individual run a few moments later by Hood, James came up with another big save.

The best chance for the Bears to tie the game came in the 73rd minute with a close-range header saved by Hasick.

As the final whistle approached, the Bears continued to press. The Dinos sat back and absorbed the attacks, holding on for the three points.

McDonnell credits his team’s defensive performance for the win.

“Our individual defending in areas was much better today,” McDonnell said. “We did a good job of doubling up on their strong, fast wingers, because they were causing us a lot of grief yesterday.”

The Dinos’ season continues next weekend at home against the University of Winnipeg Wesmen. The games start at 2:15 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday at West Varsity Pitch.

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