Men’s soccer suffer loss, settle for draw in home stand doubleheader

Gaels' head coach preaches consistency as team looks ahead toward imminent playoffs

Captain Jacob Schroeter takes on a Ryerson defender during Saturday's 3-0 defeat.
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Men’s soccer head coach Christian Hoefler told The Journal last week that managing only one win in the team’s previous four games wouldn’t rattle the team’s optimism. And for the first 25-minutes of their game against Ryerson on Saturday afternoon, Hoefler’s statement was correct.

The Gaels came out of the gate with a lot of intensity, giving the Rams — who eliminated Queen’s from last year’s postseason with a 1-0 overtime win — a lot of early troubles.  

“I’d say for about the first 25 minutes of the first half it looked like we were quite dominant,” Hoefler said about how his team fared subsequent to kick off. The Gaels had three quick shots on goal to the Rams’ zero before the half-hour marker.

The home side’s three early shots on target would unfortunately also be as many as they recorded all game.

After Ryerson broke the deadlock in the 33rd minute, the game’s momentum had shifted entirely. The Rams would go on to score their second goal just before the sound of half time and add on a third in the 57th minute, effectively ensuring themselves a 3-0 win.

Hoefler was understanding that the team “had many opportunities to finish [goals]” in the first half — which could’ve swayed the course of the game — but “unfortunately we just couldn’t execute in front of the net.”

The Rams, he conceded, do deserve credit. Hoefler said they’re a disciplined and organized side — a team that dealt with the Gaels’ early onslaught of offensive pressure rather well.

“The word to our guys [post-game] was that against quality teams like [Ryerson], we have to ensure that we’re finishing our opportunities,” he said.

The head coach was pleased with the Gaels’ performance, albeit a lopsided final score-line. “I wouldn’t say 3-0 was a fair depiction of what actually occurred on the field.”

Sunday’s match against the U of T Varsity Blues saw a Gaels squad that fielded a more complete 90 minute shift.

Both teams found themselves at a defensive stalemate until the 85th minute, when a U of T goal put the visitors ahead 1-0. Although they went down, Queen’s Gaels weren’t that far from scoring themselves. After keeping their composure, the Gaels scored an equalizer less than a minute later, finishing the game in a draw.

“You could see there was a lot more hunger and passion behind getting stuck in our tackles,” Hoefler said in regards to his team’s improved play from a day beforehand.

The Gaels now hover at a 3-4-3 record and sit sixth in OUA East, just squeezing into the division’s last playoff spot.

Securing a playoff berth has always been a consistent goal for the program, Hoefler said, but the team still wants to raise their seeding within the division a touch higher.

“There’s six playoff spots open [but] ideally we want to be third or fourth — minimum — to ensure that we have the first round match at home,” the coach said. “We’ll take it match from match.”

A quick turnaround will have the Gaels play away to RMC on Wednesday night. Execution remains the program’s biggest message to its players. 

“If we want to win titles [at Queen’s], we’re gonna have to execute and focus for an entire 90 or 120 minutes,” Hoefler told his players after this weekend’s games. 

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