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Pitch perfect

The UNB Varsity Reds men’s soccer team has secured back-to-back Atlantic University Sport championship titles.

Oliver Jones scored twice in UNB’s 2-1 victory over the Cape Breton Capers at the AUS final in St. John’s on Sunday afternoon. Goalkeeper Aaron McMurray had a phenomenal performance, making six saves in the win.

The win not only makes the Varsity Reds AUS champions but it also earns them a berth at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport national championships for a third consecutive year.

UNB hosted nationals last year and finished third. This year, the tournament will once again be held in familiar territory with the UPEI Panthers hosting the event from Nov 6 – 9.

Eight teams will qualify for nationals this year. The host Panthers and AUS champion Varsity Reds will be the only teams from the Atlantic conference participating. Quarterfinal action begins on Thursday.

In Sunday’s game, UNB controlled possession for most of the first half. Jones opened the scoring in the 30th minute to give the Reds a 1-0 lead. Shots were 7-2 in favour of the V-Reds in the half.

Jones scored again just over 10 minutes into the second to give UNB a 2-0 advantage. In the 66th minute, UNB was hit with some adversity as Kenneth Van Aarle was handed a red card, forcing the Reds to play shorthanded for the remainder of the game.

McMurray was quite busy in the final 25 minutes of the game. In the 86th minute, the Capers finally got on the board to make it 2-1. Cape Breton managed to create a few scoring chances in the final minutes but could not connect, giving the Reds the victory. Shots were 10-3 in favour of the Capers in the second.

UNB reached the AUS final with a 5-0 victory over the host Memorial University of Newfoundland Sea-Hawks in Saturday’s semifinal. The Varsity Reds, thanks to their 11-0-2 record during the regular season, had a bye through to the semifinal.

Jones opened the scoring in the 12th minute of Saturday’s game. Marcus Lees scored two minutes later and George Lawton connected in the 29th minute to give UNB a commanding 3-0 lead after the first half.

In the second, Jones scored again in the 58th minute to give the Reds a 4-0 advantage. Robbie Park then scored 20 minutes later to make it a 5-0 final.

Shots were 12-10 in favour of UNB in the first half. McMurray made five saves in the victory.

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