The men’s soccer, rugby and football teams all exited in the first round of the RSEQ playoffs this past week.
The time has come to start playing indoors again. Fall and summer sports are wrapping up as the weather gets crispier and heads turn towards sports with freshly renewing seasons.
That being said, it seems our teams are ready to get a head start on hibernation. Three playoff games were played by the Stingers, and all three of them turned out to be losses.
On Oct. 27, the men’s soccer team played the Université de Montréal Carabins in a tough RSEQ semi-final matchup at the CEPSUM. The Stingers not only had an away disadvantage walking onto the field, they were also the underdogs. Of the seven teams in the RSEQ, the Stingers finished the regular season in fourth place, securing the very last spot of the playoffs, with only five victories out of 12 games. Meanwhile, the Carabins finished the season without a loss.
The Carabins yet again proved why they averaged over two goals per game throughout the season: efficiency. Even though Concordia outshot them six goals to four in the first half, the home team was able to convert twice, once from a penalty kick by centre back Kareem Sow.
The Stingers weren’t too disciplined around the pitch, as they outfouled their opponents and picked up three different yellow cards in the second half, seemingly out of frustration. The third was given out less than three minutes after the final deal-sealing goal was scored. The Carabins won 3-0. Surprisingly, they lost in the finals to the 6-5-1 Patriotes of the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières last Friday.
It was more or less the same story for the men’s rugby team, who were just able to squeeze into a playoff spot. Bishop’s 15-25 season finale loss at Stade Percival-Molson pushed the Stingers through by point differential, as both the Gaiters and Concordia finished the season with a .500 win percentage.
For the semi-final game played this past Sunday, Oct. 29, the Stingers had to face the Piranhas of the École de technologie supérieure, who were invincible in the regular season. Lo and behold, another crushing semi-final away loss as Concordia was vanquished 34-3. Five different players each scored a try on the Piranhas, including third line Xabi Chrit, who won game MVP. On Nov. 5, ÉTS lost 18-17 in the finals to the second place uOttawa Gee-Gees.
Just about the most exciting game of the RSEQ’s 2023 season took place in Quebec City on Nov. 4 when the Stingers football team faced the Université Laval Rouge et Or for the semi-finals. This time around, the Concordia team had a more even matchup, as the Stingers were facing a two-seed as a three-seed in the playoff bracket. ULaval did not play the dominant season everyone expected them to, as they had taken both of their losses to the Carabins, yet Concordia had beaten the latter in their last game of the season. This matchup was a real shootout.
It started with a safety for Concordia heading into the third minute of the game, putting the Rouge et Or ahead by two points and setting the Stingers at a disadvantage. In the first drive of the second quarter, starting quarterback Oliver Roy threw an interception to Rouge et Or linebacker Justin Cloutier, who took it to Concordia’s 27-yard line. From there, a pass and a one-yard QB sneak took the Rouge et Or ahead by 9 points, then 10 due to a rouge point.
Just as a 28-yard kick from all-star kicker Eric Maximuik seemed to restore momentum to the Stingers headed into the second half, substitute quarterback Adrian Guay decided to scramble around the halfway line and fumbled the ball. It was recovered by the opponents’ cornerback Maxym Lavallée, who ran it to the house for 49 yards. Laval led 17-3 after the good kick attempt.
Towards the end of the third quarter, Olivier Roy had been back on the field, and managed to throw a stellar 20-yard pass to veteran fifth-year wideout Ezekiel Tiede for a touchdown. The game was on. The Rouge et Or replied with a 22-yard passing touchdown of their own to widen their lead to 14 points, but that didn’t stop the Stingers.
Our field general put on a fourth quarter showcase. The very next play, Roy threw a bomb to his trusty wideout Tristan Mancini for 37 yards and then another to Tiede. A couple of handoffs to the running backs, and Roy found the endzone after an eight-yard run. The Stingers defense banded together to shut the Rouge et Or down for a drive amounting to less than 15 yards, and it was Roy’s chance again.
With two and a half minutes left of the game, Roy managed to lead a drive that lasted just over a minute and score a touchdown in six plays, topped by a pass to Tiede for 34 yards into the endzone. Not to mention Roy capped off his night by tying the game and by asserting his sixth point of the night out of six points attempted. The teams tied 24-24 at the end of regulation.
Unfortunately, the Stingers did not have it in them to maintain the progress that they’d made over 60 minutes. A couple of 40+ yard field goals and a touchdown from the Rouge et Or, and Concordia’s season was over.
A few Stingers players had performances to remember, despite overall shortcomings. Roy had 310 passing yards and the third most rushing yards on the field with 51. Defensively, middle linebacker Loïk Gagné dominated the game with 9.5 tackles, one sack and one tackle for loss. The whole receiver core should be recognized for the work they all put in, Tiede especially.
It’s an exciting year to be a Concordia fan, although the ending may sting. All three of these teams surpassed what was expected of them. The future seems bright!