Gaels soccer finding postseason form

The men’s soccer team sweeps RMC to move up to 6-3-1 and second place in the OUA East divison

The Gaels sweep their season series against RMC with a 6-0 win at home.
The Gaels sweep their season series against RMC with a 6-0 win at home.
Journal File Photo

It will take more than rain and wind to derail the resurgent 2010 men’s soccer team. The Gaels took advantage of a dreary Wednesday at Tindall field to produce a 6-0 win over the RMC Paladins.

The scoring started uncharacteristically early for the Gaels when Adrian Rochford landed one in net 13 minutes into the game. Nathan Klemencic joined in three minutes later to push the lead to 2-0. Eager to add to the margin, team captain Mike Arnold booted in his seventh and eight goals of the season at the end of the first half.

Up 4-0 at halftime the Gaels entered the second half brimming with confidence while a disheartened RMC couldn’t find any way to respond. The latter half gave the Gaels fewer opportunities, but Eric Koskins was able to find the back of the net twice in the last five minutes. Covered in a healthy mix of rain and sweat, the team came off with a dominant 6-0 performance, their fifth win in the last six games.

The only loss in that streak came at the hands of Carleton who was able to squeak to a 1-0 win on Sept. 29. Carleton is the top team in the OUA East and took the season series from the Gaels 2-0. However, Vermeer said the team doesn’t feel they’re outmatched by the Ravens.

“[The] loss to Carleton was really unlucky, I thought we played really well, then we had a lapse and they capitalized on it,” said Gaels team captain Justin Vermeer. “You obviously can’t have breakdowns against good teams like that, but we had a lot of possession.”

With the postseason fast approaching, the team seems to have found its chemistry after opening the season with a 1-2-1 record and struggling to find consistent play. Vermeer commented on the team’s improvement.

“I don’t know if anything has changed; we are getting used to the system the coaches want to put in place. We are finding more net and playing together more than we have in the past,” he said. “I think [our development] was just about getting enough time to gel.”

Winning five out of the last six games, the team has pushed itself to second place in the OUA east, with a 6-3-1 record, right behind Carleton.

Surprisingly the string of success has come in spite of various injuries to veteran players on the roster. Eight players are injured, including Vermeer with a stress fracture and Eric Cappon with a concussion. The injuries to regular starters have allowed younger players to gain valuable experience. Head coach Chris Gencarelli said the injuries do have a unique benefit.

“I think it is giving other guys an opportunity to step up, with injures you never know what’s going on, [I am] very pleased what is going on with everyone,” he said. “I take 27 players for a reason, at the beginning of the season I told my guys everyone has to be ready to play at the top level of their game and clearly that has come to fruition. The injuries aren’t too serious but we’re a deep team.”

With four games remaining in the season, the Gaels need to maintain their composure if they hope to go deeper into the postseason. Gencarelli said he hesitates to rely on the team’s recent success.

“Guys are starting to find what we are looking for and playing to our strengths. If you can do that and continue to improve we will be ready to play come playoff time,” he said. “My worry is guys will get comfortable, we need to make sure to maintain our focus for playoff soccer. The next four games are huge.”

After the Thanksgiving break the Gaels will face off against the Ryerson Rams and the Toronto Varsity Blues who are right on their heels, ranked fourth and third respectively. With a game plan in place, a little bit of turkey shouldn’t slow down the emerging Gaels soccer team.

The Gaels will play against Ryerson Oct. 16 at home. Kickoff is at 3:15 p.m.

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