Ali Lee

VICTORIA – George Banks scored two goals nine minutes in the opening half, including the game-winner, to lift the McGill Redmen to a 3-1 win in the consolation final and finish in fifth place at the 2011 CIS men’s soccer national championship on Saturday afternoon at the University of Victoria.

Banks of Baltimore, Md., scored in the sixth minute and again in the 15th minute to build a 2-0 lead that McGill never surrendered. Ouajih Hamouda of Hamilton, Ont., scored the lone Marauders goal to draw the Marauders within one, but McGill’s Yohann Capolungo of Auxerre, France, added a late insurance goal, assisted by Banks.

The McGill Redmen took the lead only six minutes in to game when a left-foot cross from Detroit native Alexander King found the wide open head of Banks to easily take a 1-0 lead.

In the 12th minute, Jeremy Hurdle of Ambler, Pa., created another opportunity for the Redmen when a volley from Capolungo was stopped at close range by Marauders rookie goalkeeper Anthony Cavalluzzo of Hamilton, Ont. The follow-up header by Banks went just over the bar to keep the Marauders within one.

Marauders midfielders Anthony Costa of Stoney Creek, Ont., and Brandon Gutierrez of Brampton, Ont., managed to string several passes together in the midfield but the frontline, led by Paterson Farrell of Oakville, Ont., was unable to connect.

On the counter-attack down the right side Taren Roughead of Coquitlam, B.C., served a perfect ball into the six-yard-box for the foot of Banks to give McGill the 2-0 lead. The goal in the 15th minute goal brought Banks’ tally to four for the tournament, surpassing current leading scorer and Ottawa native Elvir Gigolaj of Saint Mary’s.

The Marauders struggled to break the Redmen backline, quarter-backed by fifth-year Vancouver-native Graeme Tingey. It took a good individual effort by rookie Gutierrez down the right side to get the first shot on net for the Marauders. Gutierrez’s cross in the 30th minute was nicely placed for Farrell to volley but McGill keeper Kelly had little trouble with the save.

A free kick outside the box for McGill almost took the lead to three when Hurdle’s left foot shot curled just high over the bar in the 39th minute of play. Banks’ two goals would prevail as the Redmen finished the first half with a 2-0 lead, after outshooting the Marauders 13-4.

Opening the second half, in the 48th minute, Marauders goalkeeper Cavalluzzo drop-kicked the ball up the middle of the field to the speedy Hamouda who received the long-range pass and calmly knock into the net to cut McGill’s lead in half, 2-1.

Half-time substitute Muntazir Fadhel, a first-year from Richmond Hill, Ont., brought a surge of energy and speed up front for the Marauders, as play began to edge slightly in McMaster’s favour.

Midway through the second half, substitute, William Hoyle, a six-foot-three midfielder of Ottawa, re-engergized the Redmen with his size and speed through the middle of the pitch.

McGill striker Sebastian Munro of Vancouver had a chance to take the lead by two but his one-on-one chance in tight was well saved by Cavalluzzo. Capolungo picked up the rebound but his shot was blocked and then his follow-up shot was deflected wide, as the Marauders scrambled in their box to keep the ball out.

In the late states, Cavalluzzo ran out to the midfield line twice to clear ball as McMaster unsuccessfully pressed forward for the equalizer. In the 89th minute, the McMaster keeper took a free kick that went over everyone, bounced and hit the post that would have been the equalizer.

The Redmen nearly added an insurance marker in the 90th minute as Capolungo made a run down the right flank, drawing Cavalluzzo out of his goal. Capolungo sent it across and but Banks’s shot was stopped by a defender before it could find the open net. Peter Valente of Toronto nearly made it 3-1 a minute later when Cavalluzzo misplayed the ball just past the midfield line but Valente’s shot into an open net sailed wide. Finally, the insurance goal came as Banks beat a defender, drew out the McMaster keeper and passed it to Capolungo who scored his third of the tournament to make it 3-1.

McGill earns fifth place, while McMaster finishes sixth. McGill’s overall record at nationals now improves to 2-1, with an all-time CIS tournament record of 20-23-5, while the Marauders fall to 1-2 at this CIS nationals, 6-10-1 all-time at the CIS tournament.