Muskie boys back at OFSAA

Lucas Punkari

For the second-straight year, the Muskie boys’ soccer team is headed to the all-Ontario ‘AA’ soccer championships after blanking the Dryden Eagles 1-0 in the NorWOSSA final yesterday afternoon at St. Francis Field here.
“I’m still trying to absorb everything all in right now as I have such a mix of emotions,” head coach Shane Beckett enthused afterwards.
“I’ve never had so my butterflies in my stomach leading into this game, and this last week has been just torture heading into the [playoffs],” he admitted.
“It’s always tight in the finals, and we talked to the guys before the game about coming out of the gates flying, which they did.”
After earning a bye to the final by virtue of having the best record during the regular season, the Muskies struck quickly in the championship game as Grade 11 midfielder Cam Gobeil blasted a ball into the back of the net at the two-minute mark of the first half.
“It all started off a free kick that we had,” noted Gobeil, who is a rookie on the squad.
“The ball came across and [Brandon] McGinnis got a head on it,” he recalled.
“Then it hit off of one of their defenders and I was able to come over and volley the ball right past [Eagles’ keeper] Carney [McConnachie].”
Despite dominating play for most of the match, the Muskies had to change up their attack midway through the second half when striker Colton Spicer was sent off with a red card at the 58-minute mark—forcing the squad to play with just 10 men.
But the Eagles only were able to muster one scoring chance in the final 20 minutes that was cleared out of harm’s way by defender Tim Metke.
“In my brain, I had a 100 adjustments that I thought

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we would have to make after Colton got sent off,” noted Beckett.
“But in the end, we ended up making none and just played without a striker up top,” he explained.
“With our system that we have, it makes the team that we are playing have a lot of possession but never in any dangerous areas.
“And other than one chance that they had, we were able to handle things without too many problems,” Beckett added.
The black-and-gold now head to North Bay for the all-Ontarios, with action getting underway next Thursday (June 7).
The exact schedule likely won’t be finalized until early next week as other school districts still are determining their league champs.
Meanwhile, the Muskie girls saw their season come to an end yesterday morning with a 2-1 loss to the Dryden Eagles in the NorWOSSA semi-final.
After a scoreless first half, the Eagles took the lead when Abby Bartlett scored on a free kick.
Morgan Church then converted a penalty kick to extend the lead a few minutes later
Cecilia Berry cut the deficit to one late in the game by scoring on a penalty kick, but that was as close as the black-and-gold would get.
“I thought the girls played their hearts out and I thought that they deserved to win,” said Taylor Meyers, who co-coached the team with Nicole Rogozinski this year.
“There were a few bad calls that went against [us], and that’s all there is to it,” she added.
The league title ended up going to the Kenora Broncos, who captured their third-straight NorWOSSA crown with a convincing 4-0 win over Dryden in the final later yesterday.
Kenora now travels to the girls’ ‘AA’ OFSAA championships in St. Thomas, which also kick off next Thursday.