Thursday, October 26th saw the Niagara Knights men's soccer program advance to the OCAA semi-finals with a dramatic 3-2 victory over the George Brown Huskies. The Knights received goals from Connor Diacur (St. Catharines), Jake Therrien (Welland), and Jordi Amores (Niagara Falls).
"There were two quality teams on the field today that both knew what each other was capable of" said Knights men's soccer head coach Frank DeChellis. "That kept everyone of high alert for 90 minutes. We had three quality finishes by three different players. Our back four were solid and our midfield kept their cool under significant pressure."
Winger Connor Diacur opened the scoring in the 41st minute, just moments after subbing into the contest. Diacur buried a cross via a header to break the 0-0 deadlock that dominanted the opening half.
George Brown opened the second half with significant pressure, and a Knights defensive foul in the penalty area in the 55th minute allowed the Huskies to pull even off the ensuing penalty kick.
Unfazed, the Knights rebounded almost immediately sending multiple crosses towards the George Brown goal, narrowly missing on two fantastic scoring chances.
Jake Therrien reestablished the Knights' one goal lead in the 65th, dribbling the ball through multiple Huskies' defenders before chipping the ball into the back of the net.
George Brown made the game interesting, converting off a mad scramble in the 89th minute, but the Knights were able to weather the storm and secure the hard fought 3-2 victory.
Centreback David Fimiak (St. Catharines) was named the Knights player of the match.
"We let the guys play their own game" added DeChellis. "We set the structure and philosophy at training, and place a lot of trust in their own decision making. That is our style and they appreciate the freedom."
The win sees the Knights advance to the OCAA Championship semi-finals for the second consecutive season. The team will face the Durham Lords who finished the regular season in second place in the Central division with a record of 6-3-1. The Lords defeated the Fanshawe Falcons earlier Thursday in the quarterfinals.
Kick off for Friday's semi-final matchup is set for 3:00pm at Fleming College in Peterborough.