After a successful season last year, winning the OUA Championships, the Marauders men’s soccer team is back and hungry for another victorious season.
But the team does not just have its sights on victory within the OUA. They are striving to win a medal at CIS Championships this year, especially after facing some bad luck in the opening round of the national championships last season.
“I think we were a bit unlucky with our draw last year having to meet up with Laval for the opening game on their home field” said head coach, Dino Perri.
The Marauders team fought hard in the second half against the Laval Rouge et Or, but the last stint of effort was too little, too late.
“It took us a while to get going in that game and after going down 1-0 in the first half, we could not find the equalizer in the second half, despite out playing Laval,” said Perri.
Now, the team finds itself in a position where they are missing four of their strongest players from last season. Mark Reilly, Garrett McConville, Andrew Pastoric and Rob Schlosser have all graduated, which means that the team will have big shoes to fill for this year.
“Although we have the talent to fill in the gaps left behind, their leadership and experience will be sorely missed. Time will tell if it will be replaced,” said Perri.
The secondary talent last season had a chance to prove themselves this past weekend in Waterloo and St. Catharines, where they rose to the occasion against the Waterloo Warriors and Brock Badgers.
In Waterloo, the Marauders could not find an opportunity to get the ball at the back of the net in the first half, which ended in a 0-0 draw.
In the second half, midfielder Christian Truyen finally got a breakaway and scored twice in a row to put the Marauders up 2-0.
In the 70th minute of the game, Gersi Xhuti extended the lead to 3-0 over the Warriors from the penalty spot.
The Marauders held on for the 3-1 victory in the match.
In the game against the Brock Badgers, the Marauders grabbed the lead in the second minute of play, with Gersi Xhuti scoring his second goal of the season.
The Badgers looked to make a comeback shortly after, as Van Wissen added a scoring touch to make the game a 1-1 tie.
In the second half, time was on the Marauders side. Midfielder Nick Morris scored two goals, in the span of two minutes, 10 minutes into the half.
The two wins over the weekend have solidified the Marauders into the upper tier of OUA West.
After two great victories, it’s safe to say that the gaps of last years experienced veterans will not take long to be filled.
Next up, the Marauders will be hosting the York University Lions at the Ron Joyce Stadium on Friday, Sept. 13. Kick-off will be at 7:15 p.m.
Photo C/O Fraser Caldwell.