Jacob Schroeter played the hero over the weekend, ensuring men’s soccer walked away with six points.
The rookie striker’s goal ended up making the difference as the Gaels (3-0-1) held on to a 2-1 victory over the visiting Laurentian Voyageurs (0-4-0) on Saturday. The next day, Queen’s shut out the Nipissing Lakers (1-2-1) 2-0 to maintain their undefeated record on the year.
For head coach Christian Hoefler, the wins were a result of the team’s dedication to continued improvement.
“As a coach, I’m seeing a lot of progress in terms of our tactics and our strategies that we’ve been training on,” he said.
The Gaels dominated the first half of their tilt with the Voyageurs, not allowing Laurentian to record a shot on goal.
Queen’s got on the board in the 43rd minute when midfielder Henry Bloemen took a pass from striker Tommy Hong and fired it past the Laurentian keeper.
Laurentian’s Omar Allison connected on a penalty kick early in the second half, drawing the game even. Schroeter’s goal came 22 minutes later, giving the Gaels the win.
Hoefler said the Gaels analyzed video heavily before the game to help them improve offensively.
“Going forward, we looked fairly dangerous and there were quite a few opportunities to finish on goal,” Hoefler said. “I think that’s a lot to do with the guys taking extra focus in training.”
One of the things Hoefler wanted to improve on after the team’s opening weekend was execution on set pieces. Four minutes into the Nipissing game, defender Connor Hannigan headed home midfielder Oliver Coren’s free kick.
Nine minutes later, Schroeter tallied his fourth of the year to increase the Gaels’ lead to 2-0. Once again, the team played smothering defence, keeping the Lakers from scoring in the match.
Goalkeepers Max Materne and Taylor Reynolds split time over the weekend, with Materne playing the first half of both matches before being relieved by Reynolds.
Hoefler said the Gaels’ depth was key to keeping the team undefeated so far this year.
“I can throw in a substitution like [third-year midfielder] Will Twardek and he’ll perform just as well as Tommy Hong,” Hoefler said. “Or he’ll do whatever he can to make sure our team is progressing.”
The Gaels next take on the Trent Excalibur on the road Saturday, before they play host to the UOIT Ridgebacks on Sunday. Hoefler said the team’s hunger to win will propel the squad heading forward.
“There’s 26 players on this roster who really believe in our goal of winning the OUA title and getting to Charlottetown [for nationals],” he said. “It’s just really the success is all these players – they deserve all the credit.”
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