Unbeaten Gryphon soccer men get top billing in playoffs
WATERLOO – The Guelph Gryphons completed their unbeaten trek through the OUA men’s soccer league’s regular season with a 1-0 edging of the Laurier Golden Hawks Sunday at Waterloo’s University Stadium.
By finishing atop the West Division with an 8-0-2 record, the Gryphs become the top seed in the playoffs
Guelph Gryphons 1 Laurier 0
Top two teams in each of the league’s three divisions plus two wildcard teams qualified for the playoffs.
Mitch Lefebvre struck for the only goal of Sunday’s game when he connected in the 22nd minute. Harvey Marchant set up the goal.
Svyatoslav Artemenko and Carter Robart shared the shutout as they each played a half. Artemenko had one save in the first half and Robart had three in the second half.
The Gryphs outshot the Golden Hawks 9-7 although both teams had four shots on target.
Laurier also changed goalkeepers at halftime. Alistair Viegas had one save in the first half and Christopher Zachmann had two in the second half.
While the Gryphs finished first in the West, Laurier was sixth at 1-7-2.
For the playoffs, the qualified teams are ranked with the first-place finishers in each of the three divisions occupying the top three places in the rankings. The others follow in order of points.
The Gryphs (first in West at 8-0-2) are top seeds and are followed, in order, by the York Lions (first in East at 8-1-1), Ryerson Rams (first in Central at 8-1-1), Carleton Ravens (second in East at 7-1-2), McMaster Marauders (second in Central at 6-2-2), Waterloo Warriors (second in West at 6-2-2), Toronto Varsity Blues (third in Central at 6-3-1) and Ontario Tech Ridgebacks (third in East at 5-2-3).
All ties were broken by goal differential. That kept the Western Mustangs out of the playoffs. They finished third in the West at 5-2-3, the same record as Ontario Tech. However, the Ridgebacks scored 13 goals more than they allowed while Western scored six more goals than they allowed.
The Gryphs are to host Ontario Tech in Wednesday’s quarterfinals.
The teams have met six times in league play since the Ridgebacks joined the league in 2010 and the Gryphs have won all six, outscoring Ontario Tech (original known as UOIT) 34-6 overall.
The Gryphs defeated the Ridgebacks 5-1 in preseason play Sept. 18 in Oshawa.
The Gryphs will be searching for their sixth championship title including three when teams didn’t advance beyond the division championships. OUA men’s soccer started in 1904 and the Gryphs won division titles along with McGill and Western in 1952, McGill and Toronto in 1958 and McGill in 1960. They captured league crowns in 1990 and 2016.
Ontario Tech has never won the OUA title.
Wednesday’s game at the Gryphon Soccer Complex is to start at 7 p.m.
Other quarterfinals Wednesday feature McMaster at Carleton at 7 p.m., Waterloo at Ryerson at 7 p.m. and Toronto at York at 8 p.m.
Quarterfinal winners move on to the semifinals on Saturday while the semifinal victors are to meet in the OUA championship match Nov. 13.
The Gryphs will be the home team in any OUA playoff game they play this year.
The U Sports national championship tournament is to be hosted by Carleton in Ottawa Nov. 18 to 21.
- Guelph Sports Journal