(VANCOUVER, BC) The UNB Reds will fight Friday for a spot in the consolation final at the 2018 U SPORTS men's soccer championship, after a 3-0 loss to l'Universitè de Montreal Carabins in Thursday's quarter-finals.
Frederic Lajoie-Gravelle (Gatineau, QC) scored all three of Montreal's goals to lead the RSEQ champs in their win.
"We played a good team," said Reds head coach Miles Pinsent. "I thought they probably executed their game plan a little bit better than we did."
The Reds looked tentative as Thursday's game started, but were able to hold a fast and responsive Montreal offence at bay until the 31st minute.
That's when Lajoie-Gravelle cut in from the right side of the field and fired a shot that may have glanced off a Reds defender and behind UNB keeper Evan Barker (Winnipeg, MB) to give Montreal a 1-0 lead they'd carry into half-time.
"It was pretty evident, we came out flat in the first half," said Reds captain Ben Gorringe (Truro, NS). "Then we were forced to chase the game from there, and they've got a couple of skilled players who took our mistakes and capitalized on them."
UNB looked much better in the second half.
The Reds controlled the ball and sustained pressure on the Carabins through the first ten minutes.
After scrambling to rein in UNB, Montreal reassumed control of the game and added their second goal in the 64th minute.
Barker made the initial save on a shot, but Lajoie-Gravelle was opportunistically in the box, there to pounce on the rebound.
In the 73rd minute, Gorringe and Joe Hamilton (Morecambe, UK) made a fast and spirited push down field, with Hamilton able to get a shot off, but it was blocked by Carabins keeper Felix Goulet (Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, QC).
Two minutes later, Lajoie-Gravelle broke between UNB defenders and chipped the ball over Barker for his third goal of the game.
"Against a team like that you're going to have to be mistake free, you're going to have to be able to take advantage of your chances and have a bounce or two go your way. None of those things happened for us today," said Pinsent.
Barker faced a total of 12 shots in the UNB net, making nine saves.
Gorringe was named UNB's player of the game.
The Reds must now regroup for Friday's consolation semi-final, where they'll face the tournament's No. 1 seed, the York University Lions.
The Lions were upset by No. 8 Trinity Western in the first of Thursday's quarter-finals.
"It'll be interesting to see the mentality of the boys," said Pinsent. "I expect they'll show up and want to compete."
"We're just going to have to come out flying and hopefully they're going to be down," said Gorringe. "It's just going to be whoever shows up that game."
The loser of Friday's consolation semi-final is eliminated from further play. The winner plays in Saturday's consolation final.
RECAP BY: Andy Campbell/UNB Athletics
PHOTOS BY: Rich Lam/UBC Thunderbirds