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By Peter Evans

Powered by six goals from two first-year players, the Ryerson men’s soccer team kept up its winning ways this weekend with two decisive victories.

The Rams defeated Laurentian University 4-0 and Nipissing University 3-2 at Birchmount Stadium on Saturday and Sunday. With the wins, Ryerson moves to the top of the Ontario University Athletics’ south division with a record of 3-3-0.

In his first ever game for the Rams, striker Patrick Santoro exploded with two first-half goals against Laurentian. “It feels great,” said Santoro, who was named OUA player of the week.

“I haven’t played a competitive game in over a year, so it’s a great feeling to start like this.” But the scoring didn’t end there for the Rams. In what was a physical second half, striker Radu Melnic added two more goals to seal the victory.

The stand-out rookie is the talk of the OUA right now with seven goals in six games, making him the second-highest scoring player in the country.

“There’s no secret,” Melnic said. “[The team] played well. We have a great defense, so all the credit goes to my teammates and the coaches.”

Rams head coach Tony La Ferrara, however, puts the credit for Melnic’s success squarely on the newcomer’s shoulders. “You can’t teach that,” La Ferrara said. “I didn’t put the ball in the net; he did. He’s just one of those kids with that natural skill for goal scoring.”

Against Nipissing on Sunday afternoon, Santoro took the spotlight. Playing in only his second game of the season, Santoro scored the Rams’ first two goals.

Ryerson striker Brook Azezue then sealed the victory with the game-winning tally four minutes after Santoro’s second goal. With four games remaining, La Ferrara is optimistic the Rams will finish the season strong and qualify for post-season play.

“Hopefully, we’ll win the next game, and then the game after that, and then the game after that,” he said. “We’re playing really well.”

The Rams’ next game is this Sunday at 1 p.m. at U of T.

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