Men’s soccer scoring slump continues

Playoff push continues despite losing offensive touch

The spotlight has shifted away from the Wilfrid Laurier University men’s soccer team. Since their Ontario University Athletics championship in 2008, the Hawks have yet to make it further

Photo by Jess Dik
Photo by Jess Dik

than the quarter-finals while missing the playoffs in two of the last six seasons

The Hawks faced two nationally-ranked teams this past weekend, the Windsor Lancers and McMaster Marauders, dropping both contests 2-0 and 1-0 respectively and failing to score a goal in both games. Laurier has been shutout for their last four games, with their last goal coming on October 1 in a 1-1 draw with the York Lions. Second-year defender Tahrik Rodriques leads a scrappy Hawks backline. According to Rodriques, the Hawks have yet to reach their potential.

“I felt the first game against Windsor, we didn’t come out as strong as we could have, we didn’t play as a unit. We hope from here on out that despite the losses we can move forward. Our energy against McMaster was a lot better than in our game against Windsor,” he said.

Laurier has shown glimpses all season of being able to compete with the OUA elite. They had a stint where they went 3-1-2 midway through the season, but have lost their last three contests heading into the final weekend.

“We’re more organized and disciplined in the way we played, we kept our shape a lot better, communication was better, ball movement a lot better,” Rodriques said.

In early October they tied two-time defending OUA championship York and shutout Guelph 2-0. Guelph sits fourth in the OUA West division and currently is one spot ahead of the Hawks. Sitting at a 4-6-4 overall record, Laurier sits fifth and could be making a trip back to the playoffs. Rodriques has high hopes for the team to close out the season.

“Hopefully we can bring that same energy and intensity in our last two games against Guelph and Brock,” he said.

Laurier could have the offensive and defensive power to beat any team in the remaining weeks of the season. Niklas Bauer is tied for second in the OUA in goals with nine, and has established himself as a top midfielder. Goalkeeper Stephan Brudiu has kept the Hawks in games, evidenced by his four shutouts this season. This may be a valuable asset for teams looking to make a playoff run. Brudiu sits second in save-percentage with .855 and is tied for third in fewest goals against with eight. The Hawks have pulled an upset in the first round of the playoffs three straight years.

The road continues as they host Guelph on Friday at 8:15 p.m., before heading to St. Catharines to take on the Brock Badgers Sunday.

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