By Chris Sanders
The Ryerson Rams men’s soccer team win 5-0 in their final game of the season against the Nipissing Lakers to secure a second seed and playoff bye on Senior Day at Downsview Park on Oct 20.
After the blowout win against the Lakers, Ryerson honoured their five graduating seniors—goalkeeper Ali Ghazanfari, forward Muaz Saleh, defenders Nathaniel Tambakis, Arya Hemati and Venizelous Koutsoulianos.
“Senior Day is a really special time because it’s a culmination of all their time with us,” said Rams head coach Filip Prostran.
“What lasts beyond Senior Day and this year will be the friendships they’ve made, obviously the degree and the relationships and good times we’ve had with each other. Those are things you get to reflect on for a lifetime.”
If a game dedicated to Ryerson’s seniors wasn’t already enough of a reason to win, the Rams were also fighting for a first-round bye in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) playoffs.
After losing 1-0 to the Carleton Ravens the day before, the Rams were left tied for second place in the OUA East division with the Toronto Varsity Blues at 29 points heading into Sunday’s contest.
But with the Varsity Blues tying in their final regular season game against the Ontario Tech Ridgebacks, and the Rams skippings past the Lakers, they secured a second seed heading into the playoffs and a first-round bye.
In Ryerson’s final game of the season, Rams midfielder Sean Fafinski opened up the scoring in the seventh minute, as it turned out to be the first of many goals to come in the afternoon.
Twelve minutes later, Venizelous Koutsoulianos would be the first Ryerson senior to bag a goal in the match, giving the team a two-goal cushion.
“All the fans were going crazy,” said Koutsoulianos. “All my friends and family were here to support [me], so that’s always good.”
The Rams tallied one more goal before the end of the half when a deflected free-kick from defender Arya Hemati spun over Lakers goalkeeper Gabriel Pastore’s palms and found its way behind the goal line.
Continuing to pile onto the scoreline in the second half, Rams first-year forward Tomas Castaldo broke through the Lakers defence and grabbed the first OUA goal of his career to make it 4-0 in the 46th minute.
Ryerson didn’t stop there with forward Yuri Costa adding in the final goal of the match, as the Rams finished the game scoring five goals on 10 shots.
With the 5-0 win, the Rams closed out their regular season with a 10-2-2 record.
UP NEXT: Ryerson will await the winner between the Toronto Varsity Blues and Nipissing Lakers to decide their quarter-finals matchup