Gaels move on to quarter-finals with late winner

Captain Andrew Martin seals win with second half strike

Defender Sam Abernethy argues with a referee during the Gaels hotly-contested 1-0 victory against the Laurentian Voyageurs on Wednesday.
Defender Sam Abernethy argues with a referee during the Gaels hotly-contested 1-0 victory against the Laurentian Voyageurs on Wednesday.
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The Queens men’s soccer team hasn’t won an OUA championship since 1995, but as of 8 p.m. on Wednesday they’re one win closer to reliving a long awaited return to the top. 

Captain Andrew Martin’s second-half goal against the number five seeded Laurentian team in an otherwise scoreless game, pushed the team into the semi-finals of the OUA playoffs.

The Gaels came into the game with momentum, coming off two big wins in their last regular season games against Nipissing (6-2) and Laurentian (2-0).

Wednesday’s match was cold, rough and intense from the opening kickoff. Queen’s established itself early through their offensive pressure, led by Martin. 

“Lethal” was the word used by Gaels’ head coach Hoefler when asked how his team’s offense performed. With 13 shots in the first half alone, compared to Laurentian’s four, it was evident that the Gaels came to the game hungry for the ball.

The first half culminated with a goal for the Gaels in the 20th minute, however it was waved off due to an offside call. Another crucial breakaway for the Gaels later in the half was also called off for the same reason.

 It was Martin who secured the winning goal mid-way into the second half, unassisted. After 25 shots towards the Laurentian keeper it was a reward for the Gaels’ perseverance.

When asked about the call to wave off his first would-be goal, Martin responded “it’s a little discouraging having the goal called off, but this team shows a lot of courage and perseverance and we pushed through.”

Despite the win, the Gaels faced some offensive pressure in their own half, but a commendable effort from keeper Alex Jones — who saved two crucial Voyagers attempts late in the second half — were enough to seal the game for the Gaels.

“We’ve taken practices a lot more differently now. They’re a lot more intense, a lot of fitness. But they’ve paid off so far,” Martin said.

Moving forward, the Gaels will play the number three nationally ranked Ryerson Rams in Toronto on Sunday. The Rams have beaten the Gaels in both their regular season fixtures this year. 

“We need a bit more composure in the attacking areas, especially finishing,” coach Hoefler said of the team’s preparation for Sunday.

Hoefler admitted that the Rams are a “quality team,” but assured that the Gaels would be ready.

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