The Cavaliers Men’s Soccer team lost their first game of the season in heart-breaking fashion last Friday when they hosted College Lionel-Groulx.
Coming off a series of wins the Cavaliers struggled at the start to find any rhythm. A lack of focus and desire along with missed passes gave the visiting team opportunities. Lionel-Groulx did not hesitate in capitalizing. In the 33rd minute they swung in a free-kick from a wide position that was mis-hit by a Champlain defender and ended up behind surprised goalkeeper David Bergeron. As the Cavaliers tried to shake off the unlucky bounce, the visitors doubled their lead in the 37th minute of play when a poor pass back from veteran defender Matthew François was intercepted and the Lionel-Groulx forward went around goalkeeper Bergeron for the 2-0 lead.
Champlain made some changes at the half to try and boost the team. The substitutions and leadership from some veterans helped turn the tide. They came out hungry and strong and showed lots of character. The Cavaliers generated several scoring chances and were throwing everything at the visitors. They finally cracked through in the 67th when veteran Alexandre Garceau’s pivot and change of direction shook off a defender and he chipped the ball to rookie forward George Lazure who coolly lifted the ball over the oncoming goalkeeper to narrow the gap to 2-1. Champlain pressed on and co-captain Mamadi Camara took the game by the reigns and broke through on a few occasions to create scoring chances. He showed leadership in a time of need and rallied the team back. Camara broke free and sent in a through ball that was missed by Lazure only to be re-possessed by Camara in the box where he was taken down by a defender. He got up and cleanly finished the penalty kick he was awarded to tie the game 2-2 in the 70th minute.
Champlain smelled victory and were pressing forward peppering the opposition goal with shots only to be denied by their lack of finishing. As the game looked like it was going to end in a draw, the visitors again capitalized in injury time on a mis-played ball to steal the points back and win 3-2. Despite the disappointing result the Cavaliers did show character and resilience in coming back from 2 goals down.
The “Hard-Hat” Performer of the game was co-captain Mamadi Camara who’s play was inspirational in rallying his team back into a game that looked all but lost.
The “Player of the Game” was rookie forward George Lazure for contributing a goal and having a solid all around performance.