November 8, 2012, QUEBEC CITY (CIS) – The UQTR Patriotes, widely considered underdogs despite their status of RSEQ champions, suffered no complex against the Alberta Golden Bears, defeating the Canada West finalists 2-1 on Thursday afternoon in the second quarter-final game at the CIS men’s soccer championship held at TELUS-UL Stadium.
Trois-Rivières earns a spot in Friday’s first semi-final game against Cape Breton at 4 p.m., thanks to its first-ever victory at the nationals tournament. In their first two appearances at the CIS championship, the Patriotes lost their two round-robin games in 1995 – including a 6-1 defeat against Alberta – and racked up a loss and a draw in 2001.
As for the Bears, who have been ranked nationally all year, including two weeks at No. 1, they have a date with the Carleton Ravens in the consolation round Friday morning at 11 am.
After the match, UQTR head coach Pierre Clermont was obviously happy with his players, who followed the game plan, according to the RSEQ coach of the year. “Since we didn’t know them, the rule was clear: play the same game we always do and don’t worry about our opponent.”
Clermont was especially pleased with the dedication of his student-athletes. “As we did all year long, we put a lot of pressure on our rivals. With the strong winds here at Laval, we wanted to keep balls on the ground and it paid off.”
Disappointment was palpable in Alberta head coach Len Vickery’s post-game comments. “It’s certainly not the result we wanted. They netted a goal at a critical time; we could see that one coming,” Vickery said.
“We started brightly, we attacked a few time with nothing to show for it, we brought a little pressure on ourselves. It’s hard to come from behind against good teams when you’re down 2-0,” he continued.
The Patriotes were able to challenge the Golden Bears early in the game, getting the best scoring chances. At the 27-minute mark, Michel Carbonneau of Gatineau, Que., came close to giving the lead to the RSEQ champs on a breakaway, but first-team all-Canadian keeper Jay Vetsch of Edmonton kept the ball out.
It was only a matter of time for UQTR, who opened the scoring in the 30th minute. After a nice pass from Yannick Fournier, Victoriaville, Que., native Francie Labrie took a shot from twenty yards out that found its way to the back of the net. At halftime, Trois-Rivières was up 1-0.
The Patriotes continued their excellent work in the second half. On the 59th minute, Guillaume Surot of Cholet, France, found himself all alone on Vetsch, whom he beat with a low shot to the keeper’s left, creating an explosion of joy on UQTR’s bench.
The Bears came back to life in the 66th minute when Jermele Campbell of Edmonton redirected a pass from Cameron Schmidt behind keeper Raphaël Bélanger Vaillancourt.
Despite Alberta’s desperate search for an equalizer, it was the Patriotes who got the best opportunities to increase their lead and put the game away. Emile Dufour-Gallant of Rimouski, Que., escaped the Alberta defence and was left all alone in front of Vetsch twice, in the 82th minute and at the beginning of the added time, but he couldn’t net the insurance marker. It wouldn’t matter however as the Bears were not able to complete the comeback.