The St. F.X. X-Men soccer team earned the all-important bye to the AUS semi-finals following a 1-0 victory over the Dalhousie Tigers, Oct. 22, at Oland Stadium.
U Sports and AUS male athlete of the week [ending Oct. 22] Dan Hayfield, a third-year arts student from Exeter, England, scored on a penalty kick in the 88th minute to provide the X-Men with the margin of victory and compliment a stellar defensive effort which included a strong performance from Subway player of the game, midfielder Cole Suart.
“Personally, I feel like our defense is one of our strongest [aspects],” Suart said after the game.
“When we get together, we are almost unbreakable back there. Teams get frustrated and, on the counters, we have guys up there like Dan, Mac [Murray], Tane [Caubo], Ben [Herringer] who can get at them to score, which is big.”
Suart noted they played a similar game against Dal earlier in the season which the Tigers did manage to tie up.
“We were up one-nil and then they tied it up, so we were really pushing at them today, defensively, just keep it there,” he said, referencing the shutout.
“And the win is massive for us, now we get the bye. So we are guaranteed top two now and it’s the first time in my four years that we’ve done that, so we’re really excited about what’s next.”
Keeper Thomas Pieroway recorded the shutout for the X-Men.
Head coach Graham Kennedy talked about accomplishing a goal with the victory.
“We wanted to clinch the bye, that was our goal, so job done there,” he said. “We can have a good week of practice now and not worry about the game next weekend at Acadia [Oct. 27, result not available at press time] so it’s good for us.”
Kennedy said he was very pleased with the team’s defense.
“We had a couple of close calls; bent but didn’t break … so, overall, pleased,” he said.
“We were patient; it was a tactical game, we didn’t want to open up the game and give away a chance. We thought if we could keep them off the board we would get a chance to win it at some point. It’s never an easy game when you play Dal; it’s always an aerial game, there are a lot of second balls to fight for. It’s never a nice play on the deck; it’s never like that, so we were glad to win a game like that.”
A day earlier at Oland Stadium, the X-Men defeated the Mount Allison Mounties 4-0.
Seamus MacDonald and Matthew Lannan split goal keeper duties for the X-Men, in earning the shutout.
Hayfield scored twice in the win with Caubo and Liam Harrigan added single tallies.
The X-Men are ranked seventh in U sports.
The Subway AUS Championship is slated for November 2 to 5 at Cape Breton University.
The X-Women soccer team split their home-games over the weekend, topping Mount A 3-1 before losing to the Tigers 2-1.
Chloe Brennan had two goals in the win with Emily Fleming also finding the back of the net.
Keeper Emma Kuzmyk earned the win on goal for the X-Women.
The next afternoon, Brennan again found the range for the X-Women while Erin Visser tended goal.
Brennan was asked about trying to mount offense in the second-half versus a stiff wind.
“Long balls weren’t working at all and I think that was a huge factor in us not being able to get forward,” she said.
“I don’t think we’ll be too disappointed with this performance; the last 80 minutes we played really well, so I think we’ll be OK.”
With a 5-3-3 record, the X-Women sit fourth in AUS standings with only the game at Acadia, on Oct. 27, to go.
St. F.X. is slated to host the Subway AUS Championship this week (Nov 2 to 5) at Oland Stadium, where the top six teams in the conference will advance.