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Soccer Axemen advance to AUS semifinals with 2-0 win over Dal

Matthew Berrigan was Acadia's Player of the Game in a 2-0 win over the Dalhousie Tigers in quarterfinal action at the AUS men's soccer championship Nov. 5 in Wolfville. Berrigan had both Acadia goals, but his total contribution was far greater than that, on both sides of the ball, leading a real team effort by the Axemen.
Matthew Berrigan was Acadia's Player of the Game in a 2-0 win over the Dalhousie Tigers in quarterfinal action at the AUS men's soccer championship Nov. 5 in Wolfville. Berrigan had both Acadia goals, but his total contribution was far greater than that, on both sides of the ball, leading a real team effort by the Axemen.

WOLFVILLE - The Acadia men's soccer team used "hard work and good defence," in the words of head coach Findlay MacRae, to advance to the AUS semifinals with a 2-0 win over the Dal Tigers Nov. 5 in Wolfville.

The second of two Thursday quarter-finals was scoreless at the half. Though Acadia had the better of the play, the Axemen could not convert their chances into shots at Tigers keeper Jason Ross.

Acadia broke the deadlock at 50:22 on an own goal credited to Matthew Berrigan, on a set-up from Cochrane Noseworthy-Smith.

The Axemen kept applying pressure, thanks in large part to some inspired play from Berrigan and Corey Cadeau, moved up to forward from his usual position on defence.

In the 77th minute, Cadeau broke in on the Tigers' goal and was fouled in the penalty area. Berrigan took the penalty kick and made no mistake, beating Ross to provide the Axemen with some insurance.

The Acada defence, led by first-team all-star Andrew Snyder and  second-teamer Ryan Parris, was virtually impenetrable, resulting in very few shots - and almost no scoring chances - on Axemen keeper Nigel Goodwin.

Berrigan was the choice for Acadia's Player of the Game, though the honour could have easily gone to Cadeau, Snyder, Parris or a handful of other Axemen.

Mark Hagen was picked as Dalhousie's Player of the Game.

Speaking in the final minutes, Berrigan said "the key to victory was coming together as a team, battling for every ball and finishing well. Our defenders played an unbelievable game."

"We wanted to control midfield," MacRae, the AUS Coach of the Year, said after the game. "When we're controlling the ball, we're causing the other team problems."

With the win, the third-ranked Axemen advance to a semifinal meeting with #2 UNB Nov. 6 at 7:15 p.m.

The other semifinal, at 5 p.m. Nov. 6, will feature UPEI, 2-0 winners over Memorial in the other quarter-final Thursday, against top-ranked Cape Breton.

For many of the Axemen players, this is their first opportunity to host the AUS playoff tournament.

"It's surreal, in a sense," Cadeau, who grew up in Coldbrook, said before the game.

"We deserve to be here, and we're hosting besides. It wouldn't have been the same if we were just the hosts, but we earned our way here with the season we had."

"It's nice to be playing on our home turf, with the home crowd behind us," Noseworthy-Smith, who grew up in Wolfville, said before the game. "It's an exciting time."

Speaking at halftime, Noseworthy-Smith said he was pleased with Acadia's play. "It took us a few minutes to get the nerves out, but now we're outworking them. We're getting our chances. Now all we just have to convert."

Speaking before the game, Snyder described hosting the tournament as "a pretty fantastic experience, playing in front of the home crowd and having the school behind us. Everyone is feeling confident. We're ready to go."

 View a slideshow from the Dal-Acadia game here.

The second of two Thursday quarter-finals was scoreless at the half. Though Acadia had the better of the play, the Axemen could not convert their chances into shots at Tigers keeper Jason Ross.

Acadia broke the deadlock at 50:22 on an own goal credited to Matthew Berrigan, on a set-up from Cochrane Noseworthy-Smith.

The Axemen kept applying pressure, thanks in large part to some inspired play from Berrigan and Corey Cadeau, moved up to forward from his usual position on defence.

In the 77th minute, Cadeau broke in on the Tigers' goal and was fouled in the penalty area. Berrigan took the penalty kick and made no mistake, beating Ross to provide the Axemen with some insurance.

The Acada defence, led by first-team all-star Andrew Snyder and  second-teamer Ryan Parris, was virtually impenetrable, resulting in very few shots - and almost no scoring chances - on Axemen keeper Nigel Goodwin.

Berrigan was the choice for Acadia's Player of the Game, though the honour could have easily gone to Cadeau, Snyder, Parris or a handful of other Axemen.

Mark Hagen was picked as Dalhousie's Player of the Game.

Speaking in the final minutes, Berrigan said "the key to victory was coming together as a team, battling for every ball and finishing well. Our defenders played an unbelievable game."

"We wanted to control midfield," MacRae, the AUS Coach of the Year, said after the game. "When we're controlling the ball, we're causing the other team problems."

With the win, the third-ranked Axemen advance to a semifinal meeting with #2 UNB Nov. 6 at 7:15 p.m.

The other semifinal, at 5 p.m. Nov. 6, will feature UPEI, 2-0 winners over Memorial in the other quarter-final Thursday, against top-ranked Cape Breton.

For many of the Axemen players, this is their first opportunity to host the AUS playoff tournament.

"It's surreal, in a sense," Cadeau, who grew up in Coldbrook, said before the game.

"We deserve to be here, and we're hosting besides. It wouldn't have been the same if we were just the hosts, but we earned our way here with the season we had."

"It's nice to be playing on our home turf, with the home crowd behind us," Noseworthy-Smith, who grew up in Wolfville, said before the game. "It's an exciting time."

Speaking at halftime, Noseworthy-Smith said he was pleased with Acadia's play. "It took us a few minutes to get the nerves out, but now we're outworking them. We're getting our chances. Now all we just have to convert."

Speaking before the game, Snyder described hosting the tournament as "a pretty fantastic experience, playing in front of the home crowd and having the school behind us. Everyone is feeling confident. We're ready to go."

 View a slideshow from the Dal-Acadia game here.

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