By William Brown
The Ryerson Rams men’s soccer team is officially the OUA east division champions after their 4-2 win over the Queen’s University Gaels Sunday afternoon.
Forwards Viktor Anastasov and Lee led the charge with a goal and two goals as the Rams eleventh win of the season marked their highest win total in program history.
Following a first-round bye, the Rams will now play their first playoff game on Oct. 27 at Monarch Park Stadium home turf, though their opponent won’t to be determined until Oct. 23.
“It’s good to get the win now,” said Anastasov, “Now we can focus on the final two games and the playoffs.”
The game was scoreless until late in the second half, resulting in four straight Ryerson goals within a 12-minute span.
Ryerson’s burst of offense started when Anastasov’s low cross hit the leg of a defender and went into the top of the net for an own goal at the 75-minute mark, giving the Rams a 1-0 lead.
One minute later, Lee scored his first goal of the game off a misplay by the Queen’s defender, tripping and losing the ball in front of his own goal. He then calmly curled the ball around the Gaels’ net-minder.
AT the 79-minute mark, Anastasov headed Lee the ball and Lee chipped it overtop the keeper, for his second goal in three minutes.
The forward utilized his blazing speed in scoring his first two goals of the season.
“The defender read it, he got there,” said Lee, “but he slipped or something. I saw the far post was open and I curled it in.”
The Rams concluded their barrage when Anastasov scored his fourth goal of the season at the 87 minute mark, giving the Rams a 4-0 lead.
Defensive lapses allowed the Gaels to net two goals in stoppage time to make the score reasonable, but by then the outcome was already decided.
“I thought we were playing good in the first half, moving the ball well, finding the post,” said Lee. “But they were kind of reading that and cutting it off, so then we started playing more flank play and that made the difference.”
The players battled heavy rain as well as their opponents on Sunday afternoon on a wet and waterlogged turf.
“It didn’t make for a pretty game, that’s for sure,” said associate head coach, Filip Prostran, “A wet game is for tough players, for stuck-in, physical, hard-working players, and I thought we matched that physicality with our focus.”
“It’s difficult; the ball doesn’t roll,” said Lee, “First it’s just slippery and then it just dies.”
Despite the victory, coach Prostran says the team still has a lot to work on for the playoffs.
“The skill of being able to ride a game out right to the end, in a 1-0 game, we lose our focus like that and we’re finished,” said Prostran. “We were lucky we were up by more than one at the end there.”
Before the game, Ryerson honoured graduating players Anastasov, Alex Braletic, Michael Jan, Luke Jan, Sebastian Novais, Armin Tankovic and Jacob O’Connor for their career achievements, in what was to be their final ever home regular season game as a Ram.
The Rams will now hit the road to take on Trent on Wednesday before playing Carleton on Saturday in what will be their final game of the regular season.