Written by: Ryan Bacic; Photos by: Hung Le

TORONTO – It was an exhilarating afternoon for the Ryerson Rams as they came away with a hard fought 4-3 victory against the University of Toronto Varsity Blues at Varsity Stadium, handing the number two team in the OUA East their first loss of the season.

On what proved to be a sweltering October afternoon, columns of fans poured into Varsity Stadium with the hopes of seeing an intense bout of OUA soccer between the two dominant teams from the GTA; they would not be disappointed.

Although, from the opening whistle the match-up appeared to be rather uneven, with the favour being tilted towards the Rams. From the opening whistle to the conclusion of the first half, the University of Toronto showcased neither the team chemistry, nor the skill, that has made them such a formidable force this year.

Errors in the realm of forced offensive attempts and a lack of formidable defensive coverage, allowed Ryerson’s Andrew Dias (Toronto, Ont.) to open the scoring with a shot that split through the defense of the Varsity Blues, and put the Rams up 1-0.

In the minutes following this opening goal, the Rams showcased an aggressive determination to overcome their cross-town rival. The expected tenacity of the Rams offensive line-up was showcased in players such as Abdallah El-Chanti (Toronto, Ont.) and Nick Lambis (Pickering, Ont.), whose simultaneous ability to split the Varsity Blues defensive line kept consistent pressure on the visiting team. While on the defensive end, Kyle Stewart (Kingston, Jamaica) and Robert Boskovic (Mississauga, Ont.) maintained consistent pressure and provided tremendous man-to-man coverage.

These efforts by the Rams greatly contributed to the team's ability to add two more goals to their 1-0 lead. At the thirtieth minute, Nick Lambis (Pickering, Ont.) tucked away an uncontested goal inside of the keeper’s box, following a beautiful cross provided by teammate Raheem Rose (Toronto, Ont.). In line with this method of scoring, it was almost déjà vu when Lambis put in his second goal of the match at the thirty-fifth minute to put the Rams up 3-0.

However, the Rams would not be able to hold onto this lead going into halftime, as UofT’s Nirun Sivananthan (Brampton, Ont.) scored on a diving header in the forty-fifth minute to put the Varsity Blues on the board.

As the teams came back onto the pitch for the second half of the match, it would seem that the University of Toronto had fixed whatever had ailed them in the first forty-five minutes of play. A renewed focus on offensive intensity seemed to be the Varsity Blues’ new strategy, as they picked apart a Rams defensive effort that did not seem to adjust to this change of pace. This new style of play proved to be advantageous to the visiting team, as the Varsity Blues’ Jack Wadden (Ottawa, Ont.) scored in the sixty-first minute to close the Rams lead to 3-2.

This continuous carving into a large lead that they once held seemed to contribute a tremendous amount of pressure to the Rams line-up. Thankfully, this pressure was relieved when, in the eighty-seventh minute, Raheem Rose fired in a short distance goal that would increase the Rams lead to 4-2. The Varsity Blues’ Nirun Sivananthan (Brampton, Ont.) would eventually tuck away his second goal of the match in the ninetieth minute to bring the scoring to 4-3, but it was too little, too late.

“This was a story of two halves,” remarked Rams head coach Filip Prostran, speaking of the team’s overall performance in the match. He would go on to add, “I think UofT made some great adjustments at half-time and carried most of the play in the second half. However, I think that is to be expected when you go up in a game, as the tendency becomes to sit back and protect your lead which can be both a blessing and a curse.”


Oct. 14 at Laurentian, 2:15 p.m. Sudbury (LU Soccer Fields)

Oct. 15 at Nipissing, 2:15 p.m. North Bay (Education Centre Field)

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