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Dominant UBC powers its way to CIS men’s title

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In Canadian men’s university soccer, there’s the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds, and then there’s everyone else.

UBC claimed the men’s national championship Sunday at the University of Laval, with a 1-0 win over Cape Breton University in the final. Steve Johnson got the winning goal, but the scoreline on the final day doesn’t do justice to just how dominant the T-Birds were in 2012.

UBC played three games at nationals and outscored the opposition by an 8-0 total score. Four goals vs. the University of New Brunswick in the quarters, three against the host Laval side and Player of the Year Samuel Georget in the semis, and then the unspectacular-but-effective effort in the 1-0 win in the final.

And remember that the diminishing margins may also have to do with the fact that, to win the title, a team needs to win three games in four days.

Sunday’s finale on the hard Laval turf saw both teams struggle for long periods to try and control the match — but Cape Breton rarely manufactured any forward surge or sustained pressure to make the viewer think that UBC was in any danger after Johnson’s early goal.

Really, you could argue that the die was cast in UBC’s favour when the team thought to be its main rival for the CIS title, the University of Alberta, was stunned by UQTR 2-1 in the quarters. Alberta was really the only team to push UBC this season, tying the Thunderbirds 2-2 in the regular season and then forcing UBC to extra time in the Canada West final. UBC eventually won the Canada West title by a 2-1 count, but Alberta was the only team that had showed it could bring a physical, stack-the-defence game plan that could trouble the offensive juggernaut from Vancouver.

But, with Alberta losing not only its quarter-final, but its opening game of the consolation round, UBC was clearly the class of the pack, and showed its class by not allowing a goal during its stay in Quebec.

A Canada West title, an undefeated season. And, following Victoria’s win last year over St. Mary’s in the 2011 final — Canada West is still established as the top soccer conference in the country.

RELATED:
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