Falcons win back-to-back indoor soccer gold medals

A photo of the men's indoor soccer team wearing their gold medals. CREDIT: FANSHAWE ATHLETICS
The Fanshawe Falcons men's indoor soccer team took gold for the second year in a row at the OCAA provincial championships.

The Fanshawe Falcons men’s indoor soccer team has won backto- back gold medals at the OCAA provincial championships, held on March 10.

The tournament, which took place at the Ontario Soccer Centre in Vaughn, saw the Falcons facing multiple teams including St. Clair, Durham, as well as Sheridan College.

“I would say our confidence was high going in,” said head coach Rob Pereira. “After winning it all last year, the players trust in our formula for success and I feel like as long as they bought into it and did the work then we could be in a position to win. As we progressed through the tournament, we started to see the progress of all their work.”

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In the semi-final game against the St. Clair Saints, Fanshawe was able to get to an early 1-0 lead off a strike from fifth-year Mike Sneddon. The Saints responded with a goal of their own before the half, and the score would remain 1-1 to force extra time.

In the opening minutes of the game, Sneddon would score again to secure Fanshawe a spot in the OCAA championship final.

The Falcons were matched up once again with the Seneca Sting for the gold medal match after already defeating them 2-1 earlier in the tournament. With the season series tied at one win a piece and a gold medal on the line, it was a tense game for both teams involved.

Goalkeeping from Daniel Gonzalez in the first half kept the Sting goalless and Fanshawe veterans Engjell Qamili and Ryan Baker controlled the pace of the game.

“It was two really good teams. It was 0-0 at the half and there were some great chances to score for both teams. Then the score carried into overtime,” said Pereira.

Heading into overtime, the Falcons ran into some early trouble on a couple calls that went against the team.

“We had two penalties called against us, so we had to deal with a five-on-three. It was a huge moment in the game not conceding a goal.”

The Falcons successfully battled through the five-on-three penalty kill to close out the first half of do-ordie overtime.

Right off of the second half kickoff, first-year midfielder Eric Savoie took his space down the right side of the field, to beat the Seneca defenders. He finished the play with a wellaimed strike into the bottom left side of the net to win the game and give Fanshawe the OCAA gold medal.

Qamili was named the Tournament MVP for his play throughout the tournament, while Gonzalez was named the Top Goalkeeper and Savoie being named a Tournament All-Star.

With the season now wrapped up for the team, Coach Pereira showed his gratitude to some of the departing players including team captain Baker, Fanshawe’s leading goal scorer Sneddon, and starting goalkeeper Gonzalez.

“We’ve been fortunate. We’ve had some incredible people and athletes in our program. I know we have some great kids coming up and that are just starting their Fanshawe journey. We’re excited with the talent that we have in the group and what our future looks like moving forward.”