Tigers 2013 recap-men's soccer

Duncan Forbes - December 5, 2013

The Tigers fought their way to a tie for second in the AUS this year with a 6-3-4 record.
The Tigers fought their way to a tie for second in the AUS this year with a 6-3-4 record.

Gritty. Determined. Driven.

All words that could be used to describe the tough, defensively-minded Tigers this year.

There were many reasons to be optimistic about the 2013 season for the men’s soccer team. The team’s defense was anchored by fifth-year centre backs Nathan Rogers and Jordan Mannix, while Bezick Evraire and Tyler Lewars led the attack.

The Tigers opened their season with a big 4-2 victory over the reigning CIS silver-medallist Cape Breton Capers at home on September 7. They had the crowd on their feet with an electrifying attack that included two goals from fourth-year striker Tyler Lewars. The Tigers also were handed five yellow cards on the day, a strong indication that they’d be no pushovers this year.

The next day they faced the University of Moncton Aigles Bleus, and although the Tigers dominated play, they couldn’t solve Moncton keeper Samuel Charron and they battled their way to a 0-0 tie in a game that saw tempers flare with both teams being issued cards.

The team had a mediocre rest of September, recording two wins in their next six games, and two shutout losses to their cross-town rivals, the Saint Mary’s Huskies.

Pat Nearing’s talented squad made the most of the second half of their season, going undefeated in October with a 3-0-2 record, only surrendering two goals all month.

Co-captain Nathan Rogers finished the season with a team-high five goals, good for fourth in the AUS. Tyler Lewars was not far behind, tallying four goals in 12 contests.

The Tigers defense was tough all year and gave up the second fewest goals in the AUS with 11, or 0.84 per game.

The streak set the table for one of the tightest finishes in AUS history. The Tigers finished in a tie with StFX and Saint Mary’s for second place with a 6-3-4 record. The tie-breaker gave Saint Mary’s the advantage, and the Tigers were given the third seed for the AUS championship.

The Tigers faced the fifth-seeded Acadia Axemen in the quarter-final on November 1. They’d gone 0-1-1 against Acadia in the season, and head coach Pat Nearing knew that they would have to grind out a win.

“They have a very good, well-rounded team with strong players in every position. We have more experience in the playoffs, which is a very different level of competition than our league play,” added Nearing as the Tigers headed into the playoffs. “ I think that for all the playoff games this year it will come down to playing at your best on the day of and being lucky with injuries and key bounces in the game.”

The wind swirled and the rain came down as the Tigers and Axemen faced off at Huskies Stadium. It was a testy affair from the start as neither team wanted to go home early. The Tigers went down early when the Axemen scored in the 13th minute, but the momentum shifted in the 32nd minute when Acadia was issued a red card, limiting them to ten players for the rest of the match. Third-year midfielder Bezick Evraire capitalized on the ensuing penalty kick to knot the score at one.

After 90 minutes neither side had gained the advantage and the game was headed to overtime.

Jason Ross made a diving save on a breakaway just four minutes into extra time that helped keep the Tigers season alive. Neither team could find the back of the net in overtime and the game was to be decided by penalty kicks.

Nathan Rogers, Jack Schembri, Zach Mbolekwa and Bezick Evraire all capitalized on their shots, and the Tigers won 4-1 in the shootout.

The win now pitted them against their rivals and the championship hosts, the Saint Mary’s Huskies.

The Tigers were missing several key players due to injuries, including Nathan Rogers, Tyler Lewars and Aaron Hoyle. The Tigers were simply out-gunned and Huskies keeper Adam Miller was solid as the Tigers fell 4-1, losing in the AUS semifinal for the fifth straight year.

Bezick Evraire and Nathan Rogers were both named AUS first team all-stars, while Jason Ross was named to the second team. Evraire was also named a CIS second team all-star, while Rogers was awarded both the AUS and CIS Student-Athlete Community Service Award.


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