By McGill sports information office
LANGLEY, B.C. – Louis-Charles Laliberté, a freshman forward from LaSalle, Que., capped a quick three-goal explosion with the game-winner as the Laval Rouge et Or rallied from a 2-0 deficit to defeat McGill 3-2 and capture their first-ever CIS men’s soccer championship, Sunday afternoon, in Langley, B.C.
It marked the first duel between two Quebec-based teams in a CIS final in any sport.
McGill, which had lost 3-0 to Laval in the Quebec conference final last week, dominated the first half and jumped into an early 2-0 lead on goals by third-year defender Graeme Tingey of North Vancouver, B.C., and Gareth Pugh, a fifth-year striker from Ottawa.
Laval roared back with three goals in the final four minutes of the half and held on for the victory in the pouring rain.
“To score three times in the last (few) minutes of the half in a championship game is something that I’ve never seen before,” said Laval bench boss Samir Ghrib, named earlier in the week as the CIS coach of the year. “We were prepared for the scenario of having to come from behind. This is the story of our season. We fight until the (game) is over.”
Tingey’s header in the 11th minute came off a corner kick by Thomas Lucas, the Redmen captain from Kirkland, Que. Pugh scored his marker in the 35th minute, collecting his own rebound and firing it past Vincent Cournoyer, a 6-foot-3 sophomore from St. Hyacinthe, Que., who was named as the all-tournament goalkeeper.
The Redmen had a number of other glorious scoring chances in the opening stanza, including a missed breakaway by sophomore midfielder Cory Marcon, but were unable to take advantage.
In what was officially credited as an own goal, Laliberté appeared to take a harmless chip shot that bounced off a McGill player and past goalkeeper Jean-Lou Gosselin in the 43rd minute to narrow the gap to 2-1.
“I managed to get between the two defenders and just chipped it (off a player),” said Laliberté.
Less than two minutes later, CIS tourney MVP and second-team all-Canadian Gabriel Moreau of St. Hyacinthe, Que., pounced on a loose ball in the box and fired it past Gosselin to even the score at 2-2. It was Moreau’s third goal of the weekend.
In the dying moments of injury time, Laliberté put Laval ahead 3-2 with a long free kick. He lobbed a high shot that arced over Gosselin and into the top left corner.
“I’ve been practicing that play all season long and scored one like that in our league semifinal game against UQAM,” explained Laliberté. “If you hit it right, the ball moves in the wind and that makes it hard for the goalkeeper to make the stop.”
The Redmen held a significant territorial advantage through most of the game and had a 16-5 edge in shots directed toward the net.
“We had three great chances to score with a 2-0 lead and when you don’t bury your chances, it usually comes back to haunt you,” said first-year McGill head coach David Simon. “It was a combination of having a very young team that lacked experience at the CIS championships. Laval had that experience after winning silver in 2007 and they never gave up today.
“This hurts right now but when we look back on the season in a few weeks time, a silver medal finish is pretty good for a team that wasn’t expected to be here. We exceeded all expectations and I’m proud of what we accomplished this season.”
GAME NOTES: The Laval men’s soccer program was re-launched in 2000 after folding two decades before… The Rouge et Or were making their fifth straight appearance and their previous best result was a silver-medal finish in 2007, when they lost 2-1 to UBC in the final…McGill is the most decorated Quebec program with three national titles (1997, 1982, 1981)… No Quebec team had won CIS gold since McGill’s championship run in 1997… Laval ends the season on a 14-game undefeated streak (12-0-2)…
1. McG, Graeme Tingey (1) (Tom Lucas), 11th
2. McG, Gareth Pugh (2), 35th
3. LAV, own goal, 43rd
4. LAV, Gabriel Moreau (3), 44th
5. LAV, Louis-Charles Laliberté (2), 45th
LAV: Vincent Cournoyer (W, 2 GA, 3 saves, 90:00 mins)
McG: Jean-Lou Gosselin (L, 3 GA, 0 saves, 90:00 mins)
Shots: LAV 5, McG 16
Shots on goal: LAV 3, McG 5
Corners: LAV 1, McG 7
Offsides: LAV 0, McG 2
Fouls: LAV 7, McG 7
Yellow Cards: LAV (Alexandre Lévesque-Tremblay 37th, Pascal Bragagnolo 62nd), McG (Axel Dovi 62nd, Peter Valente 63rd)
Red Cards : none
Players of the game:
MVP: Gabriel Moreau, Laval
Goalkeeper: Vincent Cournoyer – Laval
Defender: Paul Hamilton – TWU
Defender: Sam Wingham – Victoria
Defender: Alexandre Lévesque-Tremblay – Laval
Defender: Marc-André Maillet – McGill
Midfielder: Andrew Rigby – Cap-Breton
Midfielder: Louis-Charles Laliberté – Laval
Midfielder: Julien Priol – Laval
Midfielder: Yohann Capolungo – McGill
Striker: Nordo Gooden – Toronto
Striker: Gabriel Moreau – Laval
CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE & RESULTS (all times PACIFIC TIME)
Thursday, Nov. 12
Quarter-final 1: Laval 3, UPEI 1
Quarter-final 2: Toronto 2, Victoria 1
Quarter-final 3: McGill 1, McMaster 0 (10-9 PK)
Quarter-final 4: Trinity Western 2, Cape Breton 0
Friday, Nov. 13
Consolation 1: Victoria 6, UPEI 2
Consolation 2: Cape Breton 4, McMaster 1
Semifinal 1: Laval 3, Toronto 0
Semifinal 2: McGill 2, Trinity Western 1 (5-4 PK)
Saturday, Nov. 14
Consolation final (5th-place match): Victoria 3 vs. Cape Breton 2
Sunday, Nov. 15
Bronze medal: Trinity Western 2, Toronto 1 (4-2 PK)
Championship final: Laval 3, McGill 2
- CIS -
FINAL: 2009 CIS mens soccer championship: Laval captures first national title
By McGill sports information office