At the heart of the men’s soccer team’s success this year is its strong goalkeeping tandem: fourth-year veteran Taylor Reynolds, and rookie Kyle Lanzinger.
The team has gotten off to a strong start this season, winning three of its first six matches, and amassing 11 total points — enough for fourth place in the East Conference standings. After recent away victories against first-placed Ryerson and third-placed U of T, the Gaels are in a position of strength they haven’t experienced in a long while.
Much of this success can be owed to the team’s incredibly stingy defense, which has conceded just eight goals this season (a combined 1.33 goals against average).
Reynolds and Lanzinger have split the time between the posts this season, with Reynolds giving up six goals in his four matches for two wins, a draw and a loss, while Lazinger has given up just two goals in a draw and a win.
The key to the backline’s collective success is the great chemistry between the defense and the keepers, according to Reynolds. This is a facet of the game which Reynolds, the senior goalkeeper and a key leader on the team, knows to be fundamental to his role. He said that as a veteran, he must ensure the team plays with energy, as it can be “too easy to hang it up” when losing.
With the entire field in front of him, Reynolds also makes sure that he’s always “screaming his head off” if he sees any open space or defensive need.
“The guys may not even be listening to me”, he said, “but I try to give [them] any advantage they can.”
The strong chemistry demonstrated on the field isn’t lost at the touchline. Both Reynolds and Lanzinger acknowledge the positive, competitive relationship they maintain off the field. As the veteran starter, Reynolds sees his role in the relationship as a guiding one which — when he himself was a first-year player — was something he valued dearly.
When describing his relationship with previous upper-year goalkeepers, Reynolds said, “they taught me how to prepare for a game, how to handle the mental side. You can’t get too high, too low.”
The present role reversal has led Reynolds to try to instill these same lessons in rookie Kyle Lanzinger.
“He is a mentor to me,” Lazinger said. “Always teaching me things.”
He described how learning from a senior keeper and maintaining their strong relationship has made him more confident in communicating on the pitch, a crucial component in defensive success.
Lanzinger also mentioned another important source of guidance: head coach Christian Hoefler. Lanzinger said he was fortunate enough to play under his current coach prior to the start of the season, while he was with the Kingston Clippers over the summer. The transition from the Clippers to varsity has been eased by Hoefler and Reynolds, who’ve ensured Lanzinger stays on top of his game.
With the Gaels making a push to be one of the OUA’s top teams this season, a stronger finish than last year’s OUA quarterfinals exit may be in sight with this strong duo behind them.
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