By Sarah Cunningham-Scharf
The Ryerson Rams men’s soccer team won their first game of two weekend matches on Saturday that, if both won, would allow them to clinch first place in the OUA.
The Rams defeated the Royal Military College Paladins 2-1 in a back-and-forth, high paced game Saturday afternoon at Monarch Park Stadium, to give them a five point lead over second-place Carleton in the OUA east.
In the first half, Rams veteran striker Viktor Anastasov opened scoring eleven minutes into play with a boot from left of the Paladins’ box, easily putting it past RMC keeper Tobin Semple.
RMC returned the favour just six minutes later with a goal from midfielder Curtis Brown after a scramble in the Rams’ end.
The score was tied at 1-1 until, 20 minutes into the second half, Rams second-year striker Luka Lee fired a smooth pass from right wing to striker Alexander Braletic, who scored his CIS-leading thirteenth goal, from inside the box.
“I play to my strengths,” said Lee. “On the goal I tried to cut it in [for Braletic]. I thought I could beat the guy with speed and that’s what I did.”
Rams keeper Christian Maraldo helped keep the score at 2-1 for the last 25 minutes of play with solid goaltending and play calling, stopping four of five shots on the afternoon.
The game remained fast-paced on both sides for the remainder of the half, but the Rams kept their lead for the win.
Despite winning the first of two important games, Rams associate coach Filip Prostran wasn’t enthusiastic about the team’s level of play.
“Today, collectively, I don’t think we brought our game,” said Prostran. “It’s dangerous to underestimate a team [like RMC].”
If the Rams win their second weekend game on Sunday against the Queen’s Gaels, they will clinch first place in the OUA, earning them a first-round bye in the OUA playoffs and a second-round matchup at home.