'I wanted to make it count': College soccer stars celebrate bronze

'I wanted to make it count': College soccer stars celebrate bronze

It was their last game together with the Holland College Hurricanes, and Ibra Sanoh and James Mallard were committed to make it a big one.

Sanoh started the tournament, played in Nanaimo, B.C., on a high note with the national player of the year award at the opening banquet.

Sanoh has scored a remarkable 100 goals in his four-year career, including 31 this year, but he said winning player of the year out of the Atlantic division is difficult because of the relative weakness of the league.

"I wouldn't have done it without my teammates and my coach," he said.

But the P.E.I. team's first game was a disappointment, a loss that eliminated them from gold medal contention.

"After the game one loss we had to regroup," said coach Jon Vos.

"Another three wins in three days was a grind for the players, but it was a great experience."

A unique goal

The Hurricanes secured the bronze with a 1-0 victory over the Keyano College Huskies.

James Mallard scored the game's only goal, finishing a free kick opportunity.

"It was unique," said Mallard.

"The ball was going over top of my head, but I went up for the header. It just missed me, but the keeper was coming out right behind me and punched the ball. [It] went right off the back of me and directed towards the net. Bounced up, went in the net, and I didn't really know it went in until everybody started celebrating."

Sanoh has been to the nationals in each of the four years he's been with the team, but this is his first medal.

"That was the only thing missing in my trophy case," he said.

"I set a goal that this year we have to win national, or at least come back with something."

It was finishing on a high note for both players, who marked the end of their college careers, which they said made the win extra special.

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