The year was 1994.
Disney’s The Lion King was just released, as was the first instalment of the Santa Clause series.
Ace of Base had the top song on the Billboard Top 100 with their hit single, The Sign, and on the soccer field, Brazil won the 1994 World Cup in the United States.
It was also the last time that the Lambton Lions men’s soccer team made the post-season.
On Wednesday night at the Lambton College Soccer Field, the drought came to a much-anticipated end. Needing a win to lock down a spot in the playoffs, the Lions picked up a 3-2 win over the St. Clair Saints to secure their first post-season appearance in over two decades.
“We knew we needed to win this game,” said Adrian Waszak (St. Catharines, 1st Year) following his two-goal effort. “We knew that if we won this game, we secured a playoff spot.”
“It was 90 minutes of pedal to the metal.”
The Saints drew first blood, taking a 1-0 lead in the 21st minute. Just seven minutes later, a ball ricocheted off Waszak and into the back of the St. Clair net, tying the game at 1-all. The Saints added a second goal before the half was out, taking a 2-1 lead into the break.
In the second half, the Lions controlled the pressure from the start. While they weren’t able to find the back of the net right away, the pressure was mounting and it was only a matter of time before they would be rewarded.
In the 84th minute, the ball found its way into the box and Waszak potted his second of the contest to tie things up at 2-all. That was a sign of things to come, as the Lions had all of the momentum at their backs in the closing minutes.
Two minutes later, the Lions received a break that would change their season for the best. After Mitch McAuley (Petrolia, ON; 1st) was taken down in the box, the Lions were rewarded a penalty kick. Juan Galindo Jr. (Seville, Spain) calmly stepped up to the spot and found the back of the net, sending the Lambton bench into a frenzy in the process.
The Saints wouldn’t muster another shot towards the Lambton net in the closing minutes of regulation and stoppage time. The official sounded his whistle three times, ending the Lions’ playoff drought in the process.
Lambton secured a 3-2 win over St. Clair in what was arguably the biggest soccer game in recent history for the Lions. With the win, Lambton has secured a playoff spot in the West Division.
“Everyone had full confidence in Juan to bury that penalty,” added Waszak on Galindo’s game-winning goal. “I knew if he put that away, we were winning that game.”
“It was big.”
Lambton finishes the regular season with a record of 3-5-1, and enter the post-season on a two-game winning streak. With momentum at their backs and confidence at an all-time high in the locker room, only time will tell how far the team can go.
Lambton’s opponent has yet to be officially determined for the Crossover Game, which will take place on Saturday, October 19th.
Time, location, and opponent will be announced when it’s been finalized by the OCAA.