Sixth seed familiar for Laurier soccer

Heading into the playoffs for the fourth year in a row, the Hawks will be the sixth-place team

Photo by Andreas Patsiaouros
Photo by Andreas Patsiaouros

For the fourth consecutive year, the Wilfrid Laurier University men’s soccer team is going into the Ontario University Athletics playoffs as the sixth seed in the West division.

The Hawks have followed a trend, coming into the postseason as the sixth seed and pulling the upset against their opponents in dramatic fashion.

In the past three years, they’ve eliminated the Western Mustangs and Guelph Gryphons in hostile territory and earned a trip to the quarter-finals. This time around, things will be a little different.

The Hawks drew a tougher opponent in the nationally-ranked McMaster Marauders.

This season, the Hawks have lost both matchups to the Marauders, losing 1-0 and 2-0 respectively.

Despite the change in opponent, head coach Mario Halapir is confident the club can find success against one of the OUA’s top teams.

“The way I go into the game, I go in there and expect to win; I don’t really care who we play. I’m hoping that the boys will have that same attitude,” he said.

“The two games before have no real impact on what’s going to happen on Wednesday. If we fully believe that we can do it and we commit to playing, I don’t see any reason why we wouldn’t be able to win a game.“

The club has struggled to put points on the scoreboard for the last six games, which has been mainly attributed to bad ball luck. In their matchup against the Brock Badgers on Sunday, the Hawks had multiple scoring chances, including three breakaways, but were still unable to score.

According to Halapir, he could tell the boys were frustrated — they gave “everything they had” but the ball did not go into the net.

He believes that if the Hawks are going to pull the upset against McMaster, they will have to figure out a strategy on how to overcome “bad ball luck.”

“I think we still have a bit of work to do with defending set pieces and most of the goals that have been scored on us this year have been scored on set pieces, and the only other problems we’ve had is that we haven’t been able to put the ball in the net,” he said.

Laurier won’t be changing their preparation tactics against McMaster, as both games against them this season came really close.

“Preparing for them is no different than we prepared the first two times. We know they’re a quality team, we know their strengths and again the only thing we can do on the field is we can go out there and try and perform.”

Regardless of the outcome, Halapir just hopes Laurier goes out onto the field and performs, giving everything they have.

“Regardless of score I just don’t want to have a situation where we don’t come out to play. As long as we come out to play and that’s all that we can ask, and if the results turn out in our favour, then great, if not, we’ve done our best,” he said.

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