Quarterfinal exit

Gaels miss out on season dream by one game

Rookie Jacob Schroeter led the men’s soccer team with six goals this year, earning an OUA Second-Team All-Star nod.
Rookie Jacob Schroeter led the men’s soccer team with six goals this year, earning an OUA Second-Team All-Star nod.

While their goal was to make the OUA Final Four, men’s soccer still put forth a top-notch effort.

An OUA quarterfinal loss to the Toronto Varsity Blues kept the Gaels from achieving the level of success they were looking for this year. Still, considering they lost their starting goalkeeper and top two defenders from the 2013 roster, it was an impressive performance.

In his first season with Queen’s, head coach Christian Hoefler led the squad to a 9-2-5 record. Hoefler said the season was an enjoyable experience.

“Obviously it was my first time being in the OUA, as well as being in Kingston with Queen’s,” he said. “All in all, it was exciting and I’m sad to say that it went by really fast.”

Hoefler said the team felt as though they were capable of capturing a spot in the OUA Final Four, a goal they fell one win short of.

“I’ll have to be honest — we really did expect to make the Final Four and potentially win the title,” he said.

Hoefler added that they did reach their goal to be healthy in time for the post-season.

“[Our goal] was to be healthy come playoff time, in terms of our depth and our roster size,” he said. “Certainly, as playoffs go on, it’s usually the teams that do have many options with their roster size that tend to have the most success.”

Part of the reason for the team’s regular season success was strong defensive play. Queen’s eight conceded goals were the lowest in the OUA East, and defender Kristian Zanette made the division’s first All-Star team.

Four of Zanette’s teammates were second-team All-Stars: captain Chris Michael, goalkeeper Max Materne, midfielder Henry Bloemen and rookie striker Jacob Schroeter, whose six goals led the Gaels this year.

Michael and Materne are set to graduate and won’t return, along with fifth-year striker Eric Koskins. Hoefler said the trio played a key leadership role this season.

“They were all good leaders. It was nice to have Max in the back line as the keeper, then Chris in the middle of the park as a leader,” he said. “And then Eric up top as a leader. We really had three leaders that helped balance the team, so that will be missed.”

Despite the loss of their veteran presence, the coach said he’s confident the younger players will pick up where their departed teammates left off.

“Going forward, I can see that many of the other players who are in their third or fourth year have absorbed those qualities,” Hoefler said. “Definitely, we thank the three graduating players there for helping with that.”

With the chance to get back to the Final Four next year — after two consecutive quarterfinal exits — Hoefler said the team wants to continue on some of the things that made them successful this year.

“Just having good habits on and off field and ensuring those good habits continue on,” he said. “Really just the passion and belief in our ability to continue on. It’s a lot of the psychological side — the mental aspect of the game.”

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