NORTH YORK, Ont. - It took multi-layered resiliency to overcome a 2-0 halftime deficit, an early second half goal that was called back, and playing the final 20 minutes down a man, but the Sheridan Bruins men's soccer team (8-0-5 OCAA) showed some serious fortitude, scoring three unanswered in the final 24 minutes to down Algonquin 3-2 in an epic OCAA semi final.
"It was a crazy game today, but I'm just so proud of the effort," head coach Andrew Seuradge said. "The boys came out kinda flat and we were down at the half, but we re-grouped in the change room, and worked very hard in the second half to collect that win."
The wind out of the east was such a strong force that with it at your back it was like having a 12th player. That was most evident in the final 20 minutes when Sheridan, despite being reduced to 10 men, was clearly the aggressor and had Algonquin playing off their heels.
That aggression paid major rewards in the 86th minute when Cyrus Rollocks scored what would be the eventual winner. A Sundin Esperance clearance settled at Rollocks' feet inside the centre circle where he took a touch to gather it, split a pair of defenders, held them off with speed, and patiently waited for Algonquin's keeper to move off his line before slotting it home.
He also opened the scoring for the Bruins in the 66th minute, beating the keeper low to the left side, after Sheldon Rodgers and Rahim Thorpe worked the give-and-go to set him up inside the area for the one-touch finish.
The game took two dramatic turns four minutes later when Thorpe notched the equalizer - collecting a long ball just inside the area, dribbling past a defender, and hammering a shot into the bottom left corner - but was sent off after seeing yellow a second time, following an exuberant celebration that broke the corner flag.
Andres Caicedo Sanchez and Joe Khoury notched the opening half goals for Algonquin, and they had other opportunities to add to their tally, but a trio of saves from Chester Ashby - two of which needed to be tipped over the bar - kept the Double Blue in it long enough to stage their second half rally.
They will now square off against their rivals from Humber in the Championship Saturday, with kickoff set for 3pm.