Rookie midfielder Tommy Hong’s first CIS goal helped the men’s soccer team extend their unbeaten streak, with a tie against the Ryerson Rams and a win over the Toronto Varsity Blues on the weekend.
Head coach Chris Gencarelli said Hong played two great games against strong opposition.
“It was a tough weekend for us,” he said. “But Tommy really showed well, and because of his performance we were able to penetrate forward and create scoring opportunities.”
Hong finished a cross from midfielder Nathan Klemencic in the sixth minute against Ryerson to give the Gaels an early lead on Saturday. Armin Tankovic responded for the Rams in the 29th minute, tying the game 1-1. A scoreless second half meant both teams walked away with one point in the standings.
Gencarelli said the game was a confidence boost for Hong.
“Nothing really fazes [Tommy],” he said. “If he plays a poor pass, he just keeps going, and that’s what’s going to find him success this year and beyond.”
The first half of Sunday’s game against the Varsity Blues passed without a goal for either side, but not without incident.
Aggressive, physical play to start the game led to a pushing match between Queen’s midfielder Chris Michael and a Toronto opponent, who was standing menacingly over another Gaels player. Michael then went on to score the game’s opening goal in the 60th minute, off a chance created by Hong.
Gencarelli said it was great to see the players buying into the team atmosphere.
“I would never encourage a player to do anything outside the rules of the game,” he said, “but it’s nice to see that we do stand by one another, and that … everyone’s got each others’ backs.”
The Varsity Blues responded 10 minutes after Michael’s goal with a diving header from Mario Kovacevich, tying the game 1-1.
In the 78th minute, Gaels defender Matthew Kenny dispossessed a Toronto attacker and played a perfect ball through to forward Eric Koskins, who scored to put the Gaels ahead for good.
The Gaels (2-0-1) will take their unbeaten record to Peterborough next Saturday when they play a Trent team Gencarelli said can’t be overlooked.
“They’re well-coached and well-organized,” he said. “We really want to make sure we take one opponent at a time.”
Sunday’s game will be at home against the Carleton Ravens. Both games are set to kick-off at 3:15pm.
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