Capers Hold Off REDS

UNB's Ryan Jetten races past a Capers attacker for the ball during Thursday's 2-1 loss, in Sydney. (PHOTO: Vaughan Merchant/for CBU Athletics)
UNB's Ryan Jetten races past a Capers attacker for the ball during Thursday's 2-1 loss, in Sydney. (PHOTO: Vaughan Merchant/for CBU Athletics)

(SYDNEY, NS) In a battle of the top two teams in the Atlantic University Sport men's soccer standings, the Cape Breton University Capers, ranked second in the U SPORTS Top 10, scored a 2-1 victory over the visiting UNB REDS on Thursday evening at Ness Timmons Field, in Sydney.

First-year CBU midfielder Jakub Parizek (Ceske Budejovice, Czechia) scored the winner off a free-kick from Ze Cunha (Cascais, Portugal). He soared for an acrobatic header that he deposited top shelf over the outstretched arm of UNB keeper Louis-Charles Vaillancourt (Sherbrooke, QC) in the 80th minute.

The Capers played the bulk of the scrappy match with only 10 players after Max Piepgrass (Calgary, AB) received a pair of yellow cards early in the first half, which led to his ejection.

In the first half, the Capers came out flying, with the home side rewarded for their effort with an early lead. In the second minute, Kairo Coore (Whitby, ON) took a lead pass from captain Jamie Watson (Kirkaldy, Scotland) and bested Vaillancourt with a short-side strike. 

In the 7th minute, the REDS garnered their first quality chance to tie the contest, but Daniel Clarke (Milton Keynes, UK) smothered a shot attempt from Keji Adeniyi (London, UK) in close quarters.

Clarke maintained the shutout in the 13th minute when he turned aside a shot from Alex Oprea (Winnipeg, MB).

A short time later, Piepgrass was sent off. From that point, the REDS patiently looked for openings, while the Capers showed their stoutness defensively.

In the 32nd minute, off a long entry pass from Watson, Parizek took a diving header in the 18-yard box. Despite the all-out effort, the attempt trickled wide and out of bounds.

A short time later, Clarke made another sharp stop, thwarting Luke Rosettani (Kanata, ON) on a right-footed blast.

In the 42nd minute, the REDS got the equalizer on a top-notch effort from Adeniyi, who received a pass just outside the box, shook off Cunha and blasted a shot under the crossbar and over the outstretched arm of Clarke.

The sides were deadlocked 1-1 at halftime. 

In the tightly-played second half, the best scoring opportunity for the REDS came in the 73rd minute, when Rosettani scalded a shot from just outside the 18-yard box that beat Clarke, but not the right goal post.

A couple of minutes later, off a corner-kick chance, Clarke, the Subway Player of the Game, made a sparkling stop on UNB sophomore striker Stefano D'Ambrogio (Toronto, ON).

Clarke made 10 saves to help backstop a stellar defensive effort from the short-handed Capers.

"It was a difficult game for us tonight," said REDS head coach Barry Morrison. "We conceded early and had to claw our way back into the game. We would hope for more when playing almost 80 minutes against ten men, but CBU showed their experience and why they're five-time AUS champs."

With the win, the Capers improve to 9-0-2 and clinch a first-round playoff bye. The REDS are 7-2-2 and still sit second in the AUS standings.

Both teams will return to action on Friday, when the Capers welcome the Université de Moncton Aigles Bleus, while the REDS travel to in Antigonish to face the STFX X-Men.

Both matches are scheduled to kick-off at 7:15pm.

"We'll re-group and look forward to tomorrow (Friday) and a chance to secure a bye in the upcoming AUS playoffs," said Coach Morrison.


RECAP BY: Corey LeBlanc/for CBU Athletics

PHOTOS BY: Vaughan Merchant/for CBU Athletics