Men’s soccer splits weekend series

Gaels continue hot streak, come close to beating undefeated Ryerson

The men’s soccer team now hold a 5-2 record.
The men’s soccer team now holds a 5-2 record.

The men’s soccer team had a gruelling weekend at home, playing two tough games against the University of Toronto Varsity Blues and Ryerson Rams.

A steaming Saturday afternoon was the backdrop for a heavyweight face-off between Queen’s and U of T. The Blues came into the game with a 3-2 record and had won the last two times they met the Gaels last season.

While the first half ended with little success for either team, U of T came out of halftime with a jump in their step. In the 51st minute, Toronto curled a shot into the bottom left corner of the net, putting them ahead 1-0. The Gaels hadn’t hit a shot on goal throughout the match—it looked bleak

Shortly after, Queen’s started pressuring the Rams and earning good chances at net. Three minutes after U of T scored, midfielder Andrew Kim tied the game up with a header.

Queen’s defenceman Junior Addai was the highlight of the game, tearing across the field to steal a misplayed ball by an opposing defender. He raced down the left side of the field and, at the last moment, tucked the ball past a charging goaltender to give the Gaels the lead in the 82nd minute.

The Gaels were able to sustain Toronto’s late push, and came away with a hard-won 2-1 victory.

Head coach Christian Hoefler said the win was hardly a surprise for his team.

“When people think it’s an upset, for me, it’s part of the plan,” Hoefler said.

Temperatures and emotions ran high once again during Sunday’s match against Ryerson.

The Rams have knocked the Gaels out of the playoffs the past two years, and Queen’s didn’t look like they’d forgotten. Both teams came out strong initially, but Ryerson found themselves up 2-0 after 34 minutes.

The Gaels responded quickly after the second goal, with a hard shot from forward Antoine Noel beating Ryerson’s goalie in the 39th minute to make it a 2-1 game.

The hectic second half saw both teams failing to get on the board. In the final moments, the Gaels pushed hard for the game-tying goal but Ryerson managed to run out the clock. The game ended 2-1 in Ryerson’s favour.

“I mean there was a lot of positives on the pitch,” Hoefler said about the game against Ryerson, adding that, in the big picture, he’s happy with his team’s progress. “[I] really liked the way that we performed … We’re looking good so I want to give these guys credit.”

We’ve got a plan and it’s working.”

Against Ryerson, there was a clear hunger in the Gaels to overtake the undefeated Rams. Hoefler said he was pleased to see the team’s intensity against a tough opponent.

“You can see the hunger,” he said.

Hoefler said the team has adopted a competitive outlook on every game—no matter the opposition.

“They came into our home turf here and if they needed points, it would be a battle,” he said. “If you’re not prepared for us then I’m not sure what you’re doing out there.”

Next weekend, the Gaels will play their final two home games of the season against the Trent Excalibur and Carleton Ravens on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Their final seven games of the season will be on the road.

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