After a shaky 1-2-1 start, the men’s soccer team appears to be hitting their stride. A win last weekend against Trent helped kickstart their winning ways. This weekend, the team cruised to a 4-0 win against the Nippising Lakers on Saturday and a 3-1 victory over the Laurentian Voyageurs on Sunday.
Captain Mike Arnold scored three goals this weekend and was enthusiastic about the team’s performance.
“It’s great,” said the midfielder. “We haven’t had a six-point weekend in a while.” Arnold was confident that the Gaels, who had a mediocre record coming into this weekend, were starting to play like a different team.
“I feel that we were really clicking out there,” he said. “The last few games, we hadn’t been playing to our potential, but I think we have started to do that.” The captain was especially pleased with the team’s offensive performance.
“It’s a lot more fun when we’re able get the ball up front, and start attacking and scoring,” he said.
The weekend saw goals from strikers MacArinze Ojiaku and Jordan Brooks, midfielder Andrew Colisimo, as well as Arnold.
Head Coach Chris Gencarelli was more cautious in his approach to the team’s success.
“It’s just one weekend,” he said. “I don’t want to jump the gun … we have just got to take it day by day.” Still he said, the Gaels’ performance in the last three games gives him hope for the rest of the season. “The important thing is that we are really starting to show improvement,” he said. “If we stay focused and continue to work hard in practice, we’ll be in good shape for the playoffs.”
Offensive production was the clearest area of improvement coming from the weekend. In their first fives games of the season the team was only able to muster seven goals, for a 1.4 goals per game average. Against Nipissing and Laurentian the team matched their season output while giving up only one goal. The team’s wins were marred by injuries to Ojiaku and right back Scott Compeau. Both players had to be carried off the field after suffering ugly tackles by opponents.
“I don’t know the extent of Scott’s injury,” Gencarelli said. “But I don’t think [Ojiaku’s injury] is too serious. He should be able to play next week.” Gencarelli was able to see a silver lining in the loss of two of his more experienced players.
“[Compeau and Ojiaku] offer leadership,” he said. “But this gives other guys a chance to step up and show us what they’ve got.” The Gaels had an impressive 8-3-4 regular season record last year, but were eliminated in a heartbreaking shootout loss to Carleton in the first round of the OUA playoffs.Carleton also defeated the Gaels 2-0 last month in Ottawa. Gencarelli hoped to underplay the importance of the game against Carleton.
“We are going to treat it like any other game,” he said. “But we want to do better than last time. Carleton is a very strong team but I think if we play to our potential, we are capable of beating anyone.”
The men’s soccer team plays Carleton at Richardson Stadium on Wednesday. Kick off is at 3:15 p.m. They will also faceoff against the RMC Paladins this Saturday at 3:15 p.m.
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