by Rylie Dobson
This week's Flashback Friday goes to the Dalhousie Tigers 1995-96 men's soccer team.
Back Row (left to right): Jamie Sawler (Assistant Coach), Keith Souchereau (Assistant Coach), Kate MacDonald (Trainer), Eric Pinfold, Paul Repp (Manager), Mike Ayyash, Graeme Allardice, Matt Serieys, Jeff Hyles, Dave MacFarlane, Trevor Chisholm, Stephen Cormier, Jeff Hibberts, Chad Denny, Paul English, Marc Rainford.
Front Row (left to right): Ian Kent (Head Coach), Sean Pedersen, Mark Ellis, Mike Hudson, Chris Devlin, Chad Thorpe, Ante Jazic, Gregor MacAskill.
As early as September 10, 1995, head coach Ian Kent went on record stating that the team was "the closest ever" in terms of chemistry. He was hopeful that the mix of returning all-stars and talented recruits would turn the tables this season for the two-time AUAA silver medalists, who had previously lost back to back championship games in overtime.
The season's roster would ultimately live up to Kent’s expectations, going on to win the CIAU gold medal with an undefeated record. This was the first CIAU gold medal for the Tigers, as well as the first national championship title awarded to a men’s soccer team from Nova Scotia. The championship was a spectacular game, with Dal defeating the University of Alberta 3-1. The winning goal was scored by Graeme Allardice, who was also celebrating his 21st birthday that day.
The team was led by Paul English, who hit more crosses per game than the entire team average, earning himself both AUAA all-star and CIAU tournament MVP honours. David MacFarlane was selected as a CIAU final all-star, and Ante Jazic went on the win both the CIAU, and AUAA rookie of the year awards.
The team's ongoing motto was "hated, underrated, undefeated!", and their relentless pursuit of the CIAU Championship ultimately paid off in the form of a gold medal.