CCAA 2022 men’s championship recap: Day 2
Hawks advance to CCAA final, Falcons to bronze medal semis
By Langara journalism students
Hosts Langara Falcons were knocked out of the gold-medal hunt after an emotional loss to defending champion Humber College in the semifinal CCAA men’s national soccer championship Thursday in Langley, B.C.
With their 3-1 victory, the Hawks will advance to Saturday’s championship final where they will meet the Seneca Sting.
“I’m confident our team is full of great players,” Humber Hawk Luca Uccello said. “And if we play our game, I’m confident that we will beat them.”
The Sting secured its place in the final by defeating the Vancouver Island University Mariners 4-3 in penalty kicks. The teams had been deadlocked 1-1 after 90 minutes in Thursday’s semifinal.
The Falcons, meanwhile, still have a chance to earn a bronze medal.
Humber chips away at Langara’s aplomb
Langara and Humber started out evenly matched, with neither team willing to give any ground. Both defensive lines held strong, and heads stayed cool.
It was only in the 32nd minute of play that the Hawks’ lit up the scoreboard for the first time when midfielder Federico Leal sank a free kick – narrowly missing the goalkeeper’s reach.
The Hawks doubled their advantage in the next minute of play when third-year forward Damian Kaye put a shot in the back of the net with an assist from Uccello.
The second goal appeared to dent the Falcons’ resolve, and the dynamic of the match shifted as Langara struggled to get past the opposing defense.
Shortly into the second half, Uccello scored the Hawks’ third goal, securing their lead and bringing them closer to the gold medal game.
With the clock running out, the Falcons put their first point on the board when David Rodriguez Zegarra gave the team an injection of hope. But it wasn’t enough to turn the tide.
“The result was not the one we wanted. So, a little sad for that,” Rodriguez Zegarra said.
After the Falcons’ first goal, the match became increasingly physical and by the final whistle, both teams had amassed a whopping 28 fouls in all.
Uccello said the Falcons were a good team that fought hard.
“I personally think they’ll be back next year,” he said. “They’re a good team that works hard, and we had to match it to match their intensity.”
Langara will face Montmorency Nomades of Laval Que. in a bronze-medal semifinal qualifier.
The Nomades trampled P.E.I.’s Holland Hurricanes 5-1 in the first consolation semifinal, keeping alive their hopes of bringing home their first CCAA nationals medal.
The CCAA championship has what is called a “backdoor bronze,” a format that gives teams that lose their first match a chance at a medal later on.
“We will put our head up and keep going,” Falcons’ Rodriguez Zegarra said.
In other action, the SAIT Trojans defeated Les Rouges of St. Boniface 4-2 in a high-tension consolation contest. The Trojans entered the nationals with only one loss all season and clinched their regional conference.