Shootout unfit end for would-be soccer champs

by Sean Kelly

Staff writer

Sports quiz. In what sport can a team out-shoot an opponent 20-0 and still lose?

The answer is soccer, and members of the UBC Thunderbirds men's team are still shaking their heads after a penalty kick loss to the McGill Redmen in the finals of the Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union (CIAU) soccer championship tournament in Halifax earlier this month.

"It's no way to decide a championship," says coach Mike Mosher. "We were confident going into the shootout, but McGill came away with it -- that's the cruelty of the penalty kick system."

The previously undefeated and top-ranked T-Birds lived up to their reputation in the championship game, out-shooting the Redmen 20-0 during 90 minutes of regulation time. But they failed to finish several golden opportunities to put the ball past red-hot McGill goalkeeper Jason Forsythe, who was named the tournament's most valuable player.

The game was still scoreless after 30 minutes of overtime, and the teams headed into a sudden death penalty kick shootout. The Redmen came out ahead 5-4 to take the gold medal.

Despite the defeat, Mosher is proud of his team.

"Before the tournament, we talked about doing the little things that separate a champion from a runner-up, and we did all those things," he says. "We can hold our heads high."

The 'Birds began the tournament with a 1-0 win over number two-ranked Western Ontario on a goal by Troy Wood, who was named Thunderbirds' player of the game. Wood was the goalscorer again as the team reached the championship game by defeating Dalhousie 1-0. Chris Franks set up the goal against Dalhousie and was named to the CIAU's first all-star team. Brother Mike Franks was named a second team all-star after recording his second shutout of the tournament.

UBC was favoured to win the tournament after capping off an undefeated season by beating the University of Alberta 2-0 in the Canada West finals.