No playoffs for soccer Hawks

The Blackwood Trophy will have a new name etched into it this year as the reigning Ontario champion Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks men’s soccer team failed to make the playoffs after tying McMaster on Saturday and losing to Brock on Sunday.

This is the first time in a long time that head coach Mario Halapir can recall the Hawks failing to qualify for the post-season.

“I don’t ever remember not making the playoffs,” said a solemn Halapir after the loss to Brock.

“After today’s performance … I feel embarrassed for the program. This will sit with me for a long, long time.”

The Hawks needed a win against the last-place Brock Badgers on Sunday to wrestle the final playoff spot away from the Western Mustangs. However, missing over half of their lineup due to injury and having to play an offensively oriented formation cost the Hawks, as the lowly Badgers scored four goals on the counterattack en-route to a 4-0 victory.

“I don’t know the last time we lost a game by four goals and Brock is not a team that should have been able to do that to us,” said Halapir.
It’s been three years since Laurier lost by four goals: Oct. 1 2006 against Western. The program has made the playoffs every year since 1997 and before that records weren’t even kept.

The Hawks fielded a line up that was a far cry from the one that came so close to the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) semi-finals just a season ago.
With over half of the players on the pitch for this weekend’s games never dressing a single game last season, they lacked the heart and soul -rather than skill- that last year’s team that ran on.

“I guess figuring out why, as coaches, we have to ask the players to compete … that’s a puzzle for me,” said Halapir. “I don’t understand how you can build that into players. Last year we built in a work ethic and a character, when you play this sport I don’t understand how you can’t compete.”

The program will likely graduate four players this year; defender Scott Carson, forward Kwaku Addo-Abedi, midfielder Sylvestro DeFrancesco and keeper Ben Goes.

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