Playing at both ends of Kingston, men’s soccer snagged four points out of possible six in their opening games.
The Gaels opened their regular season with a 5-0 road victory over the RMC Paladins on Sunday, before facing off against the Carleton Ravens in a scoreless draw yesterday afternoon.
New head coach Christian Hoefler was impressed with the squad he took over in mid-August.
“This team that we have here, there’s a really good bunch of athletes who have good heads on their shoulders,” he said. “I wasn’t surprised but I was very proud of the performances in both the matches.”
Against RMC, Queen’s exploded offensively in the second half after a comparatively quiet opening 45 minutes.
Forward Tommy Hong put the Gaels ahead 11 minutes into the game, scoring off a cross from Chris Wellsman.
The squad couldn’t convert on any of their remaining chances in the half, setting the scene for a second half dominated by two players.
Rookie striker Jacob Schroeter added a pair of goals in his Gaels debut, while midfielder Tonko Bacelic tallied two of his own in less than a minute.
Hoefler said the team had a strong sense of belief in their attacking game, helping lead to the multi-goal performances.
“When we attack, we attack with passion and the belief that we can achieve good things,” he said. “The finishes were top quality. Jacob Schroeter and Tonko’s goals, you couldn’t ask for better ones than those.”
A little extra motivation was on the line for the Gaels in the clash with Carleton, as the Ravens eliminated Queen’s from last year’s playoffs.
Neither team was able to mount much offence in a chippy game centred mostly around the midfield. While Queen’s pressured late, they were unable to net a goal.
Both games saw keeper Taylor Reynolds record clean sheets for the Gaels. Hoefler said there was a change in Reynolds’ on-field communication between the two matches.
“[Against Carleton] he was a lot better — he was delegating, he was leading at the back,” Hoefler said. “When you have a keeper like that who can speak you feel better as a defender.”
Heading forward, the coach said his team will be looking to work to make their finishing a little tighter, as well as making sure the Gaels are a little more organized on set pieces.
Hoefler’s hiring was announced on Aug. 14, giving him only a short period of time to start working with the players. He said he wasn’t fazed by the challenge that came with the late hiring.
“Yes, it was challenging, yes, it was almost last minute,” he said. “But that’s what life is. You take these challenges and I’m loving it.”
The Gaels continue their season this weekend when they take on the Laurentian Voyageurs and Nipissing Lakers. Both games will be played on the newly renamed Miklas-McCarney Field on West Campus.
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