X-Men and V-Reds play to scoreless draw

Courtesy Gordon La
Courtesy Gordon La

Antigonish, N.S. - The StFX X-Men (1-0-1) and the visiting UNB Varsity Reds (0-0-2) battled to a scoreless tie in Atlantic University Sport (AUS) soccer action Sunday afternoon at StFX Oland Stadium.

Goalkeepers Thomas Pieroway (Conception Bay, NL) of the X-Men and the Varsity Reds' Evan Barker (Winnipeg, MB) recorded the shutouts for their respective teams.

In the first half, there were few scoring opportunities, with the first coming from UNB senior fullback Kalen Park (Calgary, AB), whose left-footed free-kick from 35 yards out was gobbled up by Pieroway.

In the eighth minute, off a defensive miscue, Pieroway had to make a quick retreat before diving to grab the ball before it crossed his goal line.

A short time later, off a Park corner kick, which eluded Pieroway, sophomore midfielder Jose Lopez (Calgary, AB) got a weak shot behind the keeper, off the ensuing goal mouth scramble, but the X-Men defenders were able to clear the ball off the goal line.

In the 13th minute, the X-Men had a free-kick opportunity, but sophomore wing back Joe Ward (Newport, South Wales) struck the ball into the Varsity Reds defensive wall.

After freshman forward Tane Caubo (London, England) made a run and was hauled down by UNB wing player Max Vitrotti (Calgary, AB), the X-Men received another free kick, which the Varsity Red defence, again, blocked off the foot of Ward.

In the 31st minute, off a corner kick from senior midfielder Diego Padilha (Maceio, BRZ), Pieroway soared to punch the ball out of harm's way.

Ward, in the 36th minute, garnered a strike from the top of the box, but it sailed just high and wide behind Barker.

In the second stanza, the first scoring chance came from the Varsity Reds, when junior midfielder Kellen Kuipers (Calgary, AB) fed senior midfielder Marcus Lees (Barrie, ON), who centered to sophomore Ben Gorridge (Halifax, NS), but his strike sailed over the crossbar.

In the 53rd minute, Vitrotti received a red card (as a result of his second yellow in the match), after hauling down Caubo, which resulted in the visitors playing with 10 men for the rest of the contest.

Off a great left-footed cross from freshman midfielder Nick Ellingwood (Quispamsis, NB), in the 69th minute, Lopez directed a diving header towards Pieroway, who made the sprawling stop by his goalpost to keep the UNB goose egg on the score sheet.

Less than one minute later, off a free kick from 25 yards, Padilha ripped a shot over the crossbar.

After coming off the bench earlier in the half, freshman forward William Warren (Windsor, NS) ignited the X-Men offense, in the 74th minute, when he split a pair of UNB defenders, before darting into the box and making a left-footed cross. Barker had to make a huge short-side save along the goal line after his fifth-year defender and captain George Lawton (Bolton, UK) made a sliding block that deflected the ball on net.

In the 85th minute, off a free kick from 30 yards by junior midfielder Liam Elbourne (Halifax, NS), Barker made an easy save.

In the dying seconds, junior forward James Fitzpatrick (Victoria, BC) took a pass from sophomore forward Ben Herringer (Calgary, AB), but Barker made a diving stop off the hard shot.

Off a Varsity Red corner kick moments later, Fitzpatrick headed the shot attempt out of the zone.

Players of the match were junior defender Dustin Benetti (Calgary, AB) of the X-Men and Ellingwood (UNB).

The X-Men will return to the pitch Saturday, Sept. 17, when they travel to Moncton to face Les Aigles Bleues, while the Varsity Reds will host the Memorial University SeaHawks in Fredericton.

Kick-off for both matches is 3:15 p.m.