Weekend Report – Algoma University Soccer: Oct 5th-6th


Saturday, October 5th – Algoma (0) @ McMaster (3)The Algoma University Lady Thunderbirds took to the road this weekend to take on McMaster Marauders in a pair of away games. An Algoma side who has most recently come off two strong performances against the Brock Badgers last weekend showed their confidence in the early stages of the match. A high press which cause several turnovers led to many promising opportunities for the Thunderbirds early on. A failure to execute in the final third would be a bit of a downfall as the halftime interval approached where the Thunderbirds found themselves down 2-0.

“We had a strong opening 45 minutes”, said head coach of the Lady Thunderbirds, Neil Ovey.
“We came out and we didn’t sit back. We wanted to really get at them and cause turnovers in their defensive third and the middle third. We did that but, we didn’t have the end product that we wanted”.

A late surge in the second half to try and get the game back in the balance and hopefully on level terms would see the Marauders capitalize on a counter-attack to put the game to bed late in the game.

“Full credit to the girls today. They played really well and left everything out on the pitch. The
result wasn’t what we wanted but, the performance was there and we played how we expected ourselves to. The girls can hold their heads high for that”, said coach Ovey.

Saturday, October 5th – Algoma (0) @ McMaster (8)
The Algoma University Thunderbirds took to the road this weekend to take on the McMaster
Marauders in a pair of away games. In a Saturday affair between the Thunderbirds and
Marauders in which the sun was shining, it would be anything but smiles for the Algoma Men’s
side. An opening 45 minutes where the Thunderbirds did not see much of the ball, a strong
McMaster Marauder side showed why they are one of the best in the country. Free play,
consistent ball movement, playing between the lines, link-up play, quick combinations, and
creating chances at will. Algoma had no answer. A rather shocking 4-0 score by halftime had the game all but sealed for McMaster. “We came out flat and they came out ready to play. It’s as simple as that. We were off the pace and nowhere near good enough in the opening 45 minutes. After the first two goals went in, the guys became deflated which was not the response we wanted. We knew it was going to be tough and mentally we just weren’t there”, said head coach of the Thunderbirds, Neil Ovey.

The second half would be much of the same where the Marauder’s would add another 4 to their scoreline, making the game a staggering 8-0 final. “We just didn’t want it today and we let the guys know that what they produced was nowhere close to the standard that we expect. The effort wasn’t good enough and the desire wasn’t there.

It was disappointing to see. Our team talk wasn’t particularly positive and we expect a massive response tomorrow. The guys have to realize that they are good players and they have to have confidence in their abilities. More than that, we can’t play out of our depth. We need to execute the basics and do the simple things well if we want to compete against these top sides”, added the boss.

Sunday, October 6th – Algoma (1) @ McMaster (3)
On Sunday afternoon, the Lady Thunderbirds played their second game of the weekend back-to back against the McMaster Marauders. On the back of a strong performance on Saturday
afternoon, the Lady Thunderbirds took the pitch in the same fashion they did the day prior. Strong, poised, confident, and hard-working. A goal against off a deflection in the 16th minute and a goal just before the halftime interval on a free kick saw the Thunderbirds down 2-0 after 45 minutes.

“We played good football in the opening 45 minutes, to be honest. We conceded two difficult
goals but, the scoreline, for us, wasn’t the main focus. We played the right way and the game was reflective of that”, said head coach, Neil Ovey.

In the second half, the Thunderbirds made a push. In the 71st minute, Anna Glasgow of the Thunderbirds put one past the Marauders goalkeeper making the game 2-1. The momentum at the stadium and during the game quickly began to shift. All of a sudden, Algoma was now
generating chance, after chance, after chance. It became worrisome for the Marauders in the 73rd minute when the Thunderbirds hit the cross bar which would have put the game level at 2-2.

Again, in the 75th minute, the Marauders goalkeeper would come up huge on a breakaway to keep the game at 2-1. In the 78th minute, a goal for the Marauders off a failed clearance put a bit of insurance in the game making the scoreline 3-1. At the end of 90 minutes, that’s how the score would end. Master Coach of the Men’s and Women’s soccer program at Algoma University, Neil Ovey, heaped praise on his team for their performance on the day. “Honestly, we walked away from this game knowing we deserved to have won it or at absolute worst get a point [a draw].

The girls left everything on the pitch and they deserved a better fate this weekend in terms of the results. Absolutely nothing to hang our heads about. We did everything the right way against a really good opponent and you have to tip your hat to two outstanding performances this weekend. We’re heading in the right direction even if it is late in the season. It’s good to see”, said Coach Ovey.

Next action for the Thunderbirds will be a single home game against the York Lions on
Thanksgiving Sunday. The game will kickoff at 1:00 pm at Superior Heights field on Sunday,
October 13th. The game can be watched on OUA TV.

Sunday, October 6th – Algoma (2) @ McMaster (1)
On Sunday afternoon, the Thunderbirds returned to the pitch after a difficult and rather disappointing performance from the day prior.

A common phrase uttered around the soccer world is, “It’s football [soccer] so, anything can
happen”. A McMaster Marauders side, who just 24 hours prior showed why they were ranked the 8th best team in the country took to the pitch for a Sunday afternoon kickoff looking to do the same as they did the day prior.

A different mindset and mentality from the Thunderbirds with minimal changes in their
approach/game plan would absolutely shock everyone at Ron Joyce Stadium on Sunday

After a scoreless opening 30 minutes where the Marauders would once again see much more of the ball than the Thunderbirds, you could see the frustration beginning to set in. The moans, discontent, and demand for more could be felt and heard around the stadium. In the 34th minute, the most unlikely of breakthroughs came for the Thunderbirds when 1st year player, Lucas Joel, put one in the back of the McMaster goal from 20 yards out. A 1-0 lead for the Thunderbirds going into halftime is something most people did not expect on Sunday afternoon.

“We put in a quality opening 45 minutes. We didn’t change much from yesterday, to be honest. We only made a few minor role changes for players, and a few tweaks in terms of how we set up defensively in our shape. That being said, the concept of ‘counter-attacking’ and a ‘low-block’ stayed the same. It’s a matter of execution, will, and desire to get it done”, said head coach of the Thunderbirds, Neil Ovey. The Thunderbirds knew the second half would be nothing short of a grind, digging down deep in the trenches, getting stuck-in, and doing difficult jobs. A few changes in personnel at halftime for the Thunderbirds saw them go from a first half of a pure 4-5-1 formation, to a second half of a 4-1-4-1 and eventually a 4-2-3-1.

The Thunderbirds kept the Marauders mostly passing sideways and backwards for the opening 25 minutes of the second half. 3rd year goalkeeper, Emmanuel Aigbukor, would have to come up big on a few occasions to hold the one goal lead for the Thunderbirds beyond the 70th minute. In the 88th minute, the Thunderbirds executed their game plan once again off a beautifully lead counter-attack where captain of the Thunderbirds, Rafael Valentini, would put one past the Marauders goalkeeper from 15 yards out.

A penalty conceded by the Thunderbirds in the 90th minute would allow the Marauders to pull
the game within one goal. 4 minutes of added time, which seemed like an eternity for all who
were supporting Algoma on the day would be played out but, to no avail. The Thunderbirds
would hold-off the Marauders until the final 3 whistles when the stadium erupted.

The most unlikely of circumstances, against one of the best teams in the country, away from
home, and against all odds — The Algoma University Men’s Thunderbirds would win 2-1
against the 6 time OUA Champions, McMaster Marauders.

Head Coach of the Thunderbirds, Neil Ovey, had nothing but praise for his side after the game, “The guys have done absolutely brilliant work today. Full credit to them. They dug in, executed the game plan to near perfection, took their chances well, stayed composed, and never gave up. What a performance, what a result, what an afternoon. The guys are buzzing with emotion and they have every right to be. They deserve this result today”.

Whilst the running quote around the soccer world still remains that, “It’s football [soccer] so,
anything can happen”, another infamous quote comes to mind when we consider the nature and context of this result for the Thunderbirds; that quote is, “Would you believe it?”. The answer to that question is, ‘yes’, everyone can believe it. It’s happened, and, if the Thunderbirds have any say in their journey moving forward, this will not be the last of these kinds of results.

“We’re a school of just over 1,000 students. Let’s be honest about it, we’re not expected to do this [win against prolific schools/nationally ranked soccer programs]. It takes time to build a program and it takes time to create something special. We showed today not just by the result but, by the quality of our performance that we can do it, that we do have the players, that we do have the culture, and that we do have the framework to continue trending upwards. It’s not going to be easy but, days like today are a reminder of why we do what we do and why we are here”,
said the boss.

Next action for the Thunderbirds will be a single home game against the York Lions on
Thanksgiving Sunday. The game will kickoff at 3:00 pm at Superior Heights field on Sunday,
October 13th. The game can be watched on OUA TV.