Split start for men’s soccer team

Photo by Marco Pedri

Photo by Marco Pedri

The Wilfrid Laurier men’s soccer team may have split their series between the Guelph Gryphons and the Waterloo Warriors last weekend—and the game against Guelph may not have been pretty—but head coach, Mario Halapir, was nothing but optimistic about the team on the field this year.

The Hawks dropped a 4-0 decision against the Gryphons on Saturday afternoon before they rebounded back to capture their first win of the season 3-1 against the Warriors.

Halapir said that last year was the start of a rebuilding process, that will continue this coming year.

“This year we have added some new young players that, in the future, are going to do quite well at this level,” he said.

This season is also going to present a different kind of challenge.

Halapir said that the Hawks are starting this year with a 28-man squad—eight of those players are injured. Out of those eight players, four of them are starters. 40 per cent of starters not playing is a significant number. But at the same time, Halapir said that this also creates an opportunity for the other players.

“I explained this to the guys that played today. This is also a great opportunity for players who we would normally not play, or normally not dress potentially. It’s a great opportunity for them to show what they can do and introduce themselves into the pressure and see how they dealt with it,” he said.

“So I only look at the positives every year.”

Halapir said that the only disappointing thing about the game against the Gryphons was that they were beat by the same things that they were able to identify in the change-room before the game and at halftime. They were defeated by mistakes that they had created themselves and could have been prevented.

“For a coach, that’s very frustrating. I’m sure from the player’s point of view, it’s also not the easiest thing to handle,” Halapir explained.

It’s a great opportunity for them to show what they can do and introduce themselves into the pressure and see how they deal with it.

-Mario Halapir, men’s soccer head coach

“Because if it’s a situation or a scenario we’re talking about… before the game and saying, ‘This is what’s going to happen and this is what we got to guard against,’ and we get into the game and we get beat by that exact same thing that we were talking about; it’s a little frustrating.”

Sunday’s matchup was a different story.

The Hawks responded with two goals by third-year forward Nikola Miokovic to take a 2-0 lead in the 57th minute. Waterloo cut the lead in half, but fourth-year Niklas Bauer restored the two goal lead in the 76th minute to take the victory.

Halapir said that it was execution that created those mistakes against Guelph, something they fixed going into the matchup against Waterloo.

“At the end of the day there has to be an execution part. It’s one of those things that we have to do our very best to keep plugging away and not get negative at this point of time. I did think it was going to be a little bit of a slow start this year and we’ll just battle through it.”

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