(VAUGHAN, ON) The come back kids of the Canadian Interuniversity Sport men's soccer championship couldn't muster one more rally.
The UNB Varsity Reds fell behind in the first half of the CIS championship game on Sunday and were unable to mount a come back, falling 2-0 to the host York University Lions.
York took control in the early minutes of the first half, making three pushes down field. Each time, they were turned away by the VReds.
UNB looked to have opened the scoring when George Lawton headed a ball toward the York goal, but it glanced off the side of the net. Some of the more than 50 UNB supporters in the stands thought the ball had gone in, but it hadn't.
Minutes later, the Lions made two dangerous crosses, off corner kicks, but were unable to score.
Then, in the 25th minute, York's Michael Cox, named the Most Valuable Player of the CIS championship tournament, managed to beat Brandon Eagle in the UNB net.
York took that 1-0 lead into half-time.
Urgency was apparent in UNB's play right from the whistle to start the second half.
Aggressive pushes into the Lions' zone came one after the other, but with no pay-off.
Just past the 60-minute mark, Eagle came out of the 18-yard box to play a ball, but met a York striker and had to take evasive action. The 5th year keeper was injured on the play and was removed from the game, ending his UNB career. Adam Grant came in to play the last 30 minutes.
As time ticked away, the Varsity Reds' efforts intensified.
On one late corner kick, Grant came out of the UNB net and into the offensive zone as the Reds pulled out all the stops.
York scored again in added time, sealing their second consecutive CIS title.
"They're the best competition that we've ever played, but I'm a little heartbroken," said UNB midfield Marcus Lees, after the game.
"They had that first goal and we could never really rebound," added Lees, one of three Varsity Reds named to the tournament all-star team.
In the moments following the game, emotions flowed from some players, clearly upset with the outcome.
Despite the loss, head coach Miles Pinsent expressed pride in his team. "I thought they went out there and did what they needed to do, especially in the second half, I thought we had the majority of the play," said Pinsent.
The coach says the Lions may be remembered as the winners of today's game, but believes his team won too. "There's a lot of other ways of winning and having success and I thought that they exhibited that throughout this tournament, just determination and the ability to focus on the task at hand and do whatever it takes to try and win."