Gaels aiming for rebound season

Gaels optimistic after lackluster 2017-18 campaign, touting young squad

The Gaels won just six of their sixteen regular season games last season.
Credit: 
Photo by Ian MacAlpine

According to men’s soccer coach Christian Hoefler, this year’s team is going to put on a show worth watching. 

Looking to improve on last year’s sixth place finish in the OUA East, Hoefler—entering his fifth year at the helm of the Gaels—recently lauded his squad’s chemistry in an interview with The Journal as a reason to be optimistic for the coming season. 

The coach attested to how off-field camaraderie works in conjunction with his team’s style of play. He said their highly technical, quick and skilled attack works best through players’ innate sense of each other’s games.

“There’s a brotherhood there,” Hoefler said. “And you can see it right on the field. They’re brave, they’re gifted—the best group I’ve seen in a while.” 

For him, the Gaels’ style of play is “quick, entertaining and productive.”

The 2017-18 campaign saw Queen’s win six of their 16 regular season matches  and cap their season with a 2-0 loss to the Ryerson Rams in the first round of the OUA playoffs. According to Hoefler, his team’s disappointing year ultimately proved to be valuable for the development of his program and its rookies. 

This season, the Gaels have seven players returning for their second year with the team. Defender Christopher Meyer and forward Matt Reale, for instance, played in 15 and nine games, respectively, out of a possible 16. 

“They’re [a] seasoned [group],” Hoefler said his crop of returning players. The team’s wealth of young talent positions the program to grow in the coming years, he added.

In light of last year’s middling result, coach Hoefler said, “they’re hungry to dominate.”

Despite optimism for the team’s chemistry, the Gaels’ graduating class will be missed. 

Queen’s will have a hole to fill in the final third, with forward Jacob Schroeter, the team’s leading scorer, graduating and departing the program. The former Gaels’ captain netted 12 goals in fourteen games in 2017-18 and recorded 54 shots on goal. 

Their schedule is balanced, save for two arduous weekends with a home-and-away series against the University of Toronto Varsity Blues in Toronto and Ryerson University in Kingston on Sept. 15 and 16, respectively. 

Both teams had the Gaels’ number in recent years, with Ryerson and U of T ending Queen’s playoff run last season and in 2015.  

Meanwhile, this past weekend, the Gaels began their season in winning fashion, shutting down Laurentian 2-0 at home. This weekend, they’ll venture to Oshawa and Peterborough for matches against the University of Ontario Institute of Technology and Trent University on Friday and Sunday.

 

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