Volume 93, Issue 10
Wednesday, September 15, 1999
Men start season with a bang
©Gazette file photo MAKING THE BIG DIVE. The men's soccer team came out victorious over the weekend, destroying Waterloo 3-1 and Windsor 5-0.
By Sean Maraj
Let the games begin.
The men's soccer team began their national title defence in convincing fashion last weekend, defeating the Windsor Lancers 5-0 and the Waterloo Warriors 3-1 in a doubleheader.
The Mustangs emerged victorious Saturday after a solid effort against the Lancers, despite a slow start to the game. The team pulled together and managed to trample the Lancers in an offensive blow-out.
Fabio Marras, coach of the Windsor men's soccer team, said his squad is in the process of rebuilding and they started six freshmen in Saturday's 5-0 loss.
"The first two goals were nice but the last three were well after the team meltdown. When you come up against national champions like Western [at your] home opener, you can expect to have people shaking in their booties," Marras said.
The second game, Sunday against Waterloo, proved to be more of a challenge. Again, the Mustangs started off slow, but with solid goaltending they turned things around in the second half and pulled off a strong victory. John Hasson, fourth-year history student and one of the co-captains for the team, described their performance.
"We played well, we got off to a shaky start in the first 15. But by the end we put it together," he said.
Perhaps the biggest question haunting last year's champions is offensive capability. The Mustangs were hit hard during the off-season by departures in their forward lines. Now the team must try to cope with the problem of scoring goals with a relatively inexperienced squad.
"We need to work on our attacking play and creating chances from the midfield. The weekend was a good chance to see the rookies in action," said Western coach Rock Bassaco.
Despite doubts, the team still managed to score eight goals in two games, when scoring has been perceived as the team's weak spot. "I'm really impressed with our goal scoring, it doesn't seem to be a problem," Hasson said.
Hasson, who was beginning to doubt the young offence, said he was optimistic about the team's potential this year although he still wouldn't predict a repeat of last year's championship season.
"We're coming together as a team, it's a problem because we have so [many] rookies. But when we come together we'll do well," he said.
As the season progresses the pressure on the offence to perform will slowly begin to mount. The task of scoring goals will fall upon the shoulders of Western's young offence who will have to lead the Mustangs back to the championships.
It won't be easy to live up to the team's standards, which are pretty high considering what it has done in the past three years, said Ciaran McCarthy, a first-year social sciences student and rookie midfielder.
"The hard part is falling into the grooves and playing on the field. But you get lots of advice. You want them to say you're doing good and you want to make them better," he said.
Copyright © The Gazette 1999