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CIS MEN'S SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEW2013-11-05

OTTAWA (CIS) – The reigning champion University of British Columbia Thunderbirds will look to resume their remarkable success at the CIS men’s soccer tournament this week when the top teams in the nation gather in Fredericton for the 44th edition of the annual competition.
 
The eight-team tourney, hosted by the University of New Brunswick for the first time since 1980, kicks off Thursday and culminates on Sunday with the gold-medal final at 2 p.m. Atlantic Time. All 11 games from the event will be webcast live on www.CIS-SIC.tv.
 
Fresh from a dominating performance in the Canada West conference final, UBC will be joined at BMO Centre by the championship host UNB Varsity Reds (AUS champions), as well as the Laval Rouge et Or (RSEQ champs), York Lions (OUA champs), Saint Mary’s Huskies (AUS finalists), Montreal Carabins (RSEQ finalists), Ryerson Rams (OUA finalists) and Saskatchewan Huskies (Canada West finalists).
 
Thursday’s quarter-finals will see York take on Saint Mary’s in the opener at 11 a.m. AT, UBC begin its title defence against Montreal at 1:30 p.m., Laval face Ryerson at 4 p.m., and UNB square off against Saskatchewan at 6:30 p.m., following the opening ceremonies.
 
To say the Thunderbirds have dominated in their past trips to the national tournament would be a major understatement. In 18 previous appearances, the powerhouse from Vancouver has reached the final 16 times, has claimed a record 12 Sam Davidson Memorial Trophies - 8 more than any other program – and has kept an overall mark of 38-5-1, good for a sensational .875 winning percentage.
 
A year after they completed an undefeated season thanks to a 1-0 gold-medal win over Cape Breton in Quebec City, the T-Birds have been nearly as invincible this fall.
 
In the regular season, they kept a sparkling 12-1 record, their only loss being a 1-0 setback against Fraser Valley in their second outing, back on Sept. 8. They avenged that defeat with a 2-0 win over UFV in the Canada West semifinals before crushing Saskatchewan 6-1 last Sunday to claim the league banner.
 
When the Canada West annual awards were announced last week, UBC became the first team since 2000 to sweep all five conference honours, including the MVP nod going to fifth-year striker Reynold Stewart, who tallied eight goals and 13 points in 13 league contests.
 
“This year’s tournament has a stellar field. It’s always tough to win three games in four days,” said UBC head coach Mike Mosher, who troops scored a CIS-best 3.62 goals per game during the regular schedule despite the loss of all-Canadian striker Gagan Dosanjh, the 2012 Canada West player of the year and CIS championship MVP. “Our team this year is very different from the one that won the national title last season. Our leading scorer from a year ago went pro and some of our key players from 2012 have barely played because of injury, but others have stepped up and flourished in new roles.”
 
In addition to UBC, three of this week’s other contenders – all conference champions - have hoisted the Davidson Trophy in the past, including York (2010, 2008, 1977), Laval (2009) and UNB (1980), which triumphed on home turf the only previous time the competition was held in Fredericton 33 years ago.
 
Crowned in each of their last two appearances at the national tourney, in 2008 and 2010, the Lions went 16-2-1 overall this season in OUA competition, both of their losses coming at the hands of McMaster. They were a perfect 3-for-3 in the Ontario playoffs, including a 1-0 shutout against previously undefeated Ryerson in the final.
 
“We’ve got some momentum going into nationals but it is a clean slate now so we need to focus on getting better,” said head coach Carmine Isacco, in his seventh campaign at the helm. “With the top eight teams in the country there, I know every game will be tough. We have to have a good mental disposition and we can’t be afraid to play our style.”
 
Things didn’t look good for Laval at the midway mark of the 12-game RSEQ schedule, as the perennial contenders from Quebec City showed a subpar record of 2-1-3. The Rouge et Or have really stepped it up in the second half however and have since posted a stellar 7-0-1 mark, including a 2-1 road win over archrival Montreal in the Quebec title match.
 
“I’m very happy with how the team has progressed. After losing 12 players from our 2012 roster, we struggled early on but we finished the RSEQ campaign on a high note,” said bench boss Samir Ghrib, who has led his squad to eight CIS tournament appearances in the last nine years. “Our objective is the same every single year, to win a national championship. It’s been our philosophy since the rebirth of our program in 2000.”
 
UNB also got off to a somewhat slow start in conference play and sat at 4-2-2 after eight contests. The V-Reds have since racked up six wins and a draw in seven outings, including a 3-0 domination of Saint Mary’s on the Huskies’ home field last Sunday for their first AUS banner since 2006.
 
“We are looking forward to hosting the top teams from across the country at our home field – the BMO Centre,” said Miles Pinsent, whose team went 0-2 last year in Quebec City. “Our goal was to go into the CIS championship as AUS champions and we are very pleased to have accomplished that. Now we look forward to competing at the next level and elevating our game as we take on the challenges of the coming week.”
 
Rounding out the field for the championship are two usual suspects and a pair of new kids on the block.
 
League finalist Montreal returns after a one-year absence and will compete on the national stage for the eighth time in 11 seasons. The Carabins had already booked their ticket to Fredericton after finishing first in the RSEQ standings with an 8-2-2 mark – a qualifying system unique to the Quebec conference.
 
“We didn’t have an easy season. We faced some adversity and had to deal with a number of injuries,” said Pat Raimondo, who has guided the Carabins to three CIS bronze medals since he took over the program 13 years ago and had previously led the McGill Redmen to a Davidson Trophy triumph in 1997. “We still managed to claim a ninth regular season title and once you’re at the national championship, anything can happen. We’ll have to play our best soccer but we’re going to Fredericton to win.”
 
Saint Mary’s also returns after a one-year hiatus for its 14th overall trip to the national tourney, including 10 in the past 14 years. Five-time silver medallists, including in their most recent appearance in 2011, the Huskies are still looking for that elusive CIS title.
 
“We are looking forward to a great week at nationals with so many great teams,” said Stewart Galloway, in his 22nd campaign on the SMU sidelines.
 
Saskatchewan and Ryerson will both make their CIS championship debut on Thursday.
 
The Huskies came out on top in the very competitive Canada West Prairie Division in conference play, as the top four teams were separated by only six points. The first-place finish earned them a direct ticket to the conference Final Four and they qualified for their first-ever trip to nationals thanks to an overtime victory against Victoria in the semifinal round.
 
“Although we are short on experience on the national stage, we have a talented group of athletes that want to challenge for a CIS championship,” said 10-year head coach Bryce Chapman. “We are proud to have made University of Saskatchewan history with a program-best season in wins and points and be the first soccer team at the school to qualify for the national championship. Our team works hard and is determined to play with the best in CIS men’s soccer.”
 
Last but not least, the OUA finalist Rams were the only team in the country to go undefeated in the regular season (12-0-2), en route to a comfortable 11-point lead in the OUA East. In the final national rankings released a week ago, Ryerson occupied the No. 2 spot, trailing only UBC.
 
“This is our first time as a program qualifying for the championship and we hope to be in the position to see what the best in the country have to offer,” said fifth-year head coach Ivan Joseph. “Three games in four days is no easy task to be champions - winning here will speak to a well balanced team that has depth at all positions.”
 
Official championship website: http://english.cis-sic.ca/championships/msoc/index
 
SAM DAVIDSON MEMORIAL TROPHY CHAMPIONS:
 
2012 UBC (at Laval)
2011 Victoria (at Victoria)
2010 York (at Toronto)
2009 Laval (at Trinity Western)
2008 York (at Carleton)
2007 UBC (at UBC)
2006 Alberta (at Alberta)
2005 UBC (at UPEI)
2004 Victoria (at Montreal / McGill)
2003 Alberta (at Montreal / McGill)
2002 Brock (at Carleton)
2001 Laurier (at Saint Mary's)
2000 Laurier (at McMaster)
1999 Western (at Victoria)
1998 Western (at McGill)
1997 McGill (at Dalhousie)
1996 Victoria (at York)
1995 Dalhousie (at UQTR)
1994 UBC (at UBC)
1993 Sherbrooke (at Acadia)
1992 UBC (at Guelph)
1991 UBC (at Queen's)
1990 UBC (at Guelph)
1989 UBC (at UBC)
1988 Toronto (at UBC)
1987 Victoria (at McGill)
1986 UBC (at Toronto)
1985 UBC (at UBC)
1984 UBC (at Carleton)
1983 Laurentian (at Laurentian)
1982 McGill (at McGill)
1981 McGill (at Alberta)
1980 UNB (at UNB)
1979 Alberta (at Alberta)
1978 Manitoba (at Concordia)
1977 York (at Waterloo)
1976 Concordia (at Concordia)
1975 Victoria (at Victoria)
1974 UBC (at Concordia)
1973 Loyola (at Memorial)
1972 Alberta (at York)
1971 Laurentian
1970 Memorial
 
PARTICIPATING TEAMS:
 
UBC Thunderbirds (Canada West champions)
 
Head Coach: Mike Mosher (18th season)
Regular season record: 12-1-0
Regular season standing: 1st Canada West Pacific (1st overall CW)
Playoff record: 2-0
Playoff finish: Canada West champions
Top 10 final ranking (Oct. 29): No. 1
Top 10 best ranking: No. 1 (polls 1-6-7-8-9)
Top 10 number of weeks ranked (9 polls): 9
Conference award winners: Reynold Stewart (MVP), Sean Einarsson (rookie), Paul Clerc (Community Service Award), Mike Mosher (coach)
Conference 1st team all-stars: Paul Clerc (D), Sean Einarsson (M), Navid Mashinchi (M), Reynold Stewart (M), Niall Cousens (S)
Conference 2nd team all-stars: Bryan Fong (D), Harry Lakhan (D), Milad Mehrabi (M)
CIS championship appearances (including 2013): 18
CIS championship all-time record: 38-5-1 (.875)
CIS championship all-time medals: 16 (12-4-0)
CIS championship best result: CIS record 12-time champions (2012, ‘07, ‘05, ‘94, ‘92, ‘91, ‘90, ‘89, ‘86, ‘85, ‘84, ‘74)
CIS championship last appearance: 2012 (champions)
CIS championship sequence: 2nd straight appearance
 
York Lions (OUA champions)
 
Head Coach: Carmine Isacco (7th season)
Regular season record: 13-2-1
Regular season standing: 1st OUA West
Playoff record: 3-0
Playoff finish: OUA champions
Top 10 final ranking (Oct. 29): No. 3  
Top 10 best ranking: No. 1 (polls 2-4-5)
Top 10 number of weeks ranked (9 polls): 9
Conference award winners (OUA West): Jonathan Lao (MVP & rookie), Carmine Isacco (coach)
Conference 1st team all-stars (OUA West): Sotiri Varlokostas (G), Casey D’Mello (D), Jonathan Lao (M), Joey Cicchillo (M), Mark-Anthony Kaye (S)
Conference 2nd team all-stars (OUA West): Carlos Nogueira (M)
CIS championship appearances (including 2013): 7
CIS championship all-time record: 11-4-2 (.706)
CIS championship all-time medals: 4 (3-0-1)
CIS championship best result: 3-time champions (2010, 2008, 1977)
CIS championship last appearance: 2010 (champions)
CIS championship sequence: Return after 2-year absence
 
Laval Rouge et Or (RSEQ champions)
 
Head Coach: Samir Ghrib (14th season)
Regular season record: 7-1-4
Regular season standing: 2nd RSEQ
Playoff record: 2-0
Playoff finish: RSEQ champions
Top 10 final ranking (Oct. 29): No. 8  
Top 10 best ranking: No. 8 (polls 1 & 9)
Top 10 number of weeks ranked (9 polls): 2
Conference award winners: Bila Dicko-Raynauld (rookie), Goran Rimac (Community Service Award), Samir Ghrib (coach)
Conference 1st team all-stars: Nafi Dicko-Raynauld (D), Bila Dicko-Raynauld (M), Patrice Dion (S)
Conference 2nd team all-stars: Guillaume Barrette (D), Wagane Ndour (M)
CIS championship appearances (including 2013): 8
CIS championship all-time record: 9-11-0 (.450)
CIS championship all-time medals: 2 (1-1-0)
CIS championship best result: 1-time champions (2009)
CIS championship last appearance: 2012 (4th place)
CIS championship sequence: 2nd straight appearance (8th in 9 years)
 
UNB Varsity Reds (AUS champions)
 
Head Coach: Miles Pinsent (11th season)
Regular season record: 8-2-3
Regular season standing: 1st AUS
Playoff record: 2-0
Playoff finish: AUS champions
Top 10 final ranking (Oct. 29): No. 5  
Top 10 best ranking: No. 5 (polls 2 & 9)
Top 10 number of weeks ranked (9 polls): 9
Conference award winners: Diego Padhilha (rookie), Miles Pinsent (coach)
Conference 1st team all-stars: Ben Law (D), Diego Padhilha (M)
Conference 2nd team all-stars: Yousuf Mohammad (S), Marcus Lees (S)
CIS championship appearances (including 2013): 8
CIS championship all-time record: 2-9-1 (.208)
CIS championship all-time medals: 1 (1-0-0) *
CIS championship best result: 1-time champions (1980)
CIS championship last appearance: 2012 (tied 7th place)
CIS championship sequence: 2nd straight appearance
 
* Also finished tied for third in 1982, 1986 and 1987 when no bronze-medal games were played.
 
Saskatchewan Huskies (Canada West finalists)
 
Head Coach: Bryce Chapman (10th season)
Regular season record: 8-5-2
Regular season standing: 1st Canada West Prairie
Playoff record: 1-1
Playoff finish: Canada West finalists
Top 10 final ranking (Oct. 29): No. 7  
Top 10 best ranking: No. 7 (polls 7-8-9)
Top 10 number of weeks ranked (9 polls): 5
Conference award winners: None
Conference 1st team all-stars: Jordian Farahani (D), Brett Levis (S)
Conference 2nd team all-stars: Brandon Holmes (M)
CIS championship appearances (including 2013): 1
CIS championship all-time record: 0-0-0
CIS championship all-time medals: 0
CIS championship best result: First appearance
CIS championship last appearance: First appearance
CIS championship sequence: First appearance
 
Ryerson Rams (OUA finalists)
 
Head Coach: Ivan Joseph (5th season)
Regular season record: 12-0-2
Regular season standing: 1st OUA East
Playoff record: 2-1
Playoff finish: OUA finalists
Top 10 final ranking (Oct. 29): No. 2
Top 10 best ranking: No. 2 (polls 6-7-8-9)
Top 10 number of weeks ranked (9 polls): 7
Conference award winners (OUA East): Alex Braletic (MVP), Cameron Galea-Andrews (rookie), Ivan Joseph (coach)
Conference 1st team all-stars (OUA East): Christian Maraldo (G), Michael Jan (D), Viktor Anastasov (M), Alex Braletic (S)
Conference 2nd team all-stars (OUA East): Josh Kohn (D), Armin Tankovic (S)
CIS championship appearances (including 2013): 1
CIS championship all-time record: 0-0-0
CIS championship all-time medals: 0
CIS championship best result: First appearance
CIS championship last appearance: First appearance
CIS championship sequence: First appearance
 
Montreal Carabins (RSEQ finalists)
 
Head Coach: Pat Raimondo (13th season)
Regular season record: 8-2-2
Regular season standing: 1st RSEQ
Playoff record: 1-1
Playoff finish: RSEQ finalists
Top 10 final ranking (Oct. 29): No. 4  
Top 10 best ranking: No. 3 (polls 2 & 4)
Top 10 number of weeks ranked (9 polls): 9
Conference award winners: None
Conference 1st team all-stars: Alexandre Haddad (D), Maxime Laurey (M), Samuel Leblanc (M)
Conference 2nd team all-stars: Kenan Morina (G), Colin Parenteau-Michon (D), Eduardo Herrera (D), Marcellin Bilali-Ibaku (M), Mircea Ilcu (S)
CIS championship appearances (including 2013): 8
CIS championship all-time record: 6-9-3 (.441)
CIS championship all-time medals: 3 (0-0-3)
CIS championship best result: 3-time bronze medallists (2008, 2006, 2003)
CIS championship last appearance: 2011 (tied 7th place)
CIS championship sequence: Return after 1-year absence (8th appearance in 11 years)
 
Saint Mary’s Huskies (AUS finalists)
 
Head Coach: Stewart Galloway (22nd season)
Regular season record: 6-3-4
Regular season standing: 2nd AUS
Playoff record: 1-1
Playoff finish: AUS finalists
Top 10 final ranking (Oct. 29): Unranked  
Top 10 best ranking: No. 7 (poll 3)
Top 10 number of weeks ranked (9 polls): 4
Conference award winners: None
Conference 1st team all-stars: Adam Miller (G), Pawel Gorski (D)
Conference 2nd team all-stars: None
CIS championship appearances (including 2013): 14
CIS championship all-time record: 17-14-3 (.544)
CIS championship all-time medals: 7 (0-5-2) *
CIS championship best result: 5-time silver medallists (2011, 2003, 2000, 1989, 1979)
CIS championship last appearance: 2011 (silver medallists)
CIS championship sequence: Return after 1-year absence (10th appearance in 14 years)
 
* Also finished tied for third in 1981 and 1988 when no bronze-medal games were played.
 
CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE (ATLANTIC TIME)

Wednesday, Nov. 6
17:30 Meet the Teams Media Conference (Fredericton Inn)
18:30 All-Canadian Awards Gala (Fredericton Inn)

Thursday, Nov. 7
11:00 Quarter-final 1: York vs. Saint Mary’s (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
13:30 Quarter-final 2: UBC vs. Montreal (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
16:00 Quarter-final 3: Laval vs. Ryerson (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
18:30 Quarter-final 4: UNB vs. Saskatchewan (www.CIS-SIC.tv)

Friday, Nov. 8
11:00 Consolation 1: Loser QF 1 vs. Loser QF 2 (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
13:30 Consolation 2: Loser QF 3 vs. Loser QF 4 (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
16:00 Semifinal 1: Winner QF 1 vs. Winner QF 2 (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
18:30 Semifinal 2: Winner QF 3 vs. Winner QF 4 (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
 
Saturday, Nov. 9
14:30 5th-place game (www.CIS-SIC.tv)

Sunday, Nov. 10
11:00 Bronze medal (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
14:00 Championship final (www.CIS-SIC.tv)


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