UOIT captured the Charity Cup for the second season in a row, but it wasn’t an easy victory.
Durham College and UOIT played in the third annual Charity Cup on March 25.
The Durham College and UOIT men’s and women’s indoor soccer teams took to the pitch in what was a close finale to their seasons.
The women were the first to take the field and it was a one-sided affair throughout. The UOIT women controlled the tempo from beginning to end creating turnovers and winning one-on-one battles.
UOIT’s Chantal Villafranca netted the first goal just three minutes into the first half. The Ridgebacks played hard physically and defensively and jumped on the struggling Lords and scored three unanswered goals.
Brittney Sero added a goal for Durham to close out the first half 3-1 in favour of the Ridgebacks.
Durham College controlled the game in the opening five minutes of the second half. They were stealing the ball and played a fast paced game to start but couldn’t get on the board.
The Lords looked like they could turn their deficit around but could not find a rhythm. UOIT quickly gained composure and jumped back on the attack when Villafranca scored her second goal of the game. Villafranca’s goal was the first of six for the Ridgebacks.
They won their game 9-1. Chantal Villafranca and Charesse Thomas-Tate were the leading scorers for UOIT with two goals each. UOIT’s coach Peyvand Mossavat chalked up the victory to simply playing as a team.
“The message going into the game was play within our system but have fun,” he said.
The UOIT and Durham Lords men’s game was the opposite story. Durham’s men started their first half on a goal from Kashiff DeJonge and Michal Grzesniak.
The Lords men’s team came out of the gate looking unstoppable and the Ridgebacks came out flat and not moving their feet. The Lords had no problem in the first half, leading 7-1 by the end.
The final score is decided by a combination of the women’s game final and the men’s game final. Going into the second half of the men’s game they needed to score three goals to take the lead as the combined score was 10-8 for UOIT.
In the second, it appeared as the Lords were in the driver’s seat but ran into a solid second half performance from Ridgebacks goalie Travis Martin, stopping every shot he faced in the final frame after being put in to replace a tattered Karan Thacker.
It was a physical second half and was what a typical rivalry game would look like: bodies falling to the floor, trash talking and the occasional shove back and forth.
Neither UOIT nor Durham would allow a good look at their net and held it down defensively.
It wasn’t until the final twenty seconds when Justin Gordon sealed the game and Durham’s fate scoring late to put them up 11-8. When the final buzzer went off, the UOIT men’s bench erupted with excitement and the crowd wasn’t far behind.
“You have to explain to them it’s for charity. They want to win but they also need to have fun with it,” said James McCaskill, assistant coach for the Durham Lords men’s team.
UOIT got to raise the Charity Cup for the second straight year while money was raised for a good cause.
The game was played with intensity and bragging rights but it was also played for a charity known as Their Opportunity. Their Opportunity gives children from low-income families the chance to play in organized sports.
Their Opportunity raised a total of $745 from the event.