Green­field re­claims GSL men’s crown, sweeps Van­kleek Hill

The Glengarry News - - Sports In Glens - BY SEAN BRAY Sports Edi­tor AD­DI­TIONAL CON­TENT ON­LINE www.sportsinth­e­glens.ca > photo gallery

It seems the play­ers on Green­field’s se­nior men’s soc­cer team saved their best for the lat­ter stages of the 2017 sea­son. Af­ter a slower-than-usual start to the sum­mer cam­paign, the men stepped up their game, sweep­ing both rounds of play­offs to re­claim the Glen­garry Soc­cer League cham­pi­onship.

Af­ter los­ing the ti­tle in 2016 to the ri­val Drillers, Green­field opened this sea­son with mixed re­sults, as the squad hov­ered around the mid­dle of the stand­ings.

It came down to the last match of the reg­u­lar sea­son, where a win clinched top spot for Green­field, one point ahead of Van­kleek Hill.

Af­ter dis­patch­ing Glen Sand­field in a two- game sweep, the Green­field men met Van­kleek Hill in the fi­nal se­ries, a best-ofthree af­fair, which kicked off Aug. 23 in Dun­ve­gan.

The tem­per­a­ture of the game el­e­vated as time went along, though it re­mained score­less well into the sec­ond half.

Green­field’s Bren­den San­ders had a glo­ri­ous op­por­tu­nity to crack the goose egg, only to see the bend­ing shot de­flect off the cross­bar, harm­lessly away from the net.

How­ever, a few min­utes later, a deep cross­ing shot fired over nu­mer­ous heads found a wideopen Kyle Howes at the edge of the box, and the marks­man made no mis­take, boot­ing home what would turn out to be the game’s only goal.

The ref­eree was chal­lenged in the lat­ter stages to keep a lid on player emo­tions, with a smat­ter­ing of phys­i­cal­ity and chirp­ing.

Green­field sus­tained a stretch of of­fen­sive pres­sure fol­low­ing the goal, look­ing to salt the match away, but was un­able to find the net for an in­sur­ance tally.

Van­kleek Hill mounted a late push, but was pre­vented from any dan­ger­ous shots on net, as Green­field se­cured the 1-0 win for the lead in the se­ries.

The squads re­con­vened two evenings later in Van­kleek Hill, and once again emo­tions were run­ning high.

Af­ter trad­ing tal­lies in the first half, Green­field took the lead at the 55-minute mark.

Phys­i­cal play picked up as the match wore on, with the Or­ange Shirts play­ing des­per­ate soc­cer.

In the wan­ing mo­ments, Van­kleek Hill took down a Green­field man in the goal box, with a penalty kick awarded. Mike Buhr cap­i­tal­ized to put his side up 3-1, and that’s how the game would fin­ish, as Green­field pre­vailed to take the cham­pi­onship in a sweep.

Van­der­wie­len and Ryan Wert also scored for the vic­tors, while Steve Gau­vreau had the lone tally for the hosts.

The GSL ti­tle is Green­field’s fifth in the last six years. Af­ter win­ning the first of four straight in 2012, the Drillers in­ter­rupted the string in 2016.

SEAN BRAY PHOTO

DE­TER­MI­NA­TION: Green­field’s Ryan Van­der­wie­len (red/black jer­sey) bat­tles with Van­kleek Hill player Olivier Martineau in ac­tion from game one of the Glen­garry Soc­cer League se­nior men’s cham­pi­onship se­ries, on the pitch in Dun­ve­gan.

SEAN BRAY PHOTO

THE BEST: Green­field is back on top in the Glen­garry Soc­cer League, as win­ners of the se­nior men’s di­vi­sion play­off cham­pi­onship. Stand­ing from left are Zack Van Loon, Ryan Van­der­wie­len, Bren­den San­ders, Steve McBain, Sullivan Van Loon, Colin San­ders,...

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