Stronger effort can’t help Laurier’s men’s soccer team
After coming off a muddy and hard-fought 2-0 win over the UOIT Ridgebacks on Saturday, which saw them end a three-game scoreless drought, the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks men’s soccer team just couldn’t compete with the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) division–leading and No.1 nationally-ranked York Lions as they fell 7-0.
Sunday was the first matchup between the Hawks and Lions since last year’s playoff quarterfinal.
A close first half battle saw York leading only 1-0 over the underdog Hawks before kicking things in to high gear at the start of the second half by scoring three goals in the first seven minutes.
“York is a quality team and I think they had something to prove after last year’s playoff game where we kept them to a 1-0 score in the rain,” said head coach Mario Halapir.
“I can’t be down on our boys, we were much better today [than yesterday], but I wish we could’ve given them a better fight than we did.”
Despite the big loss, coach Halapir hopes it won’t get the best of his team.
“I hope this game doesn’t bring our confidence and our abilities down, and I hope it doesn’t change anything about the way we wanted to do things for the rest of the season,” he said.
“I think we’ve had a decent start and I think the last few games have been a constant improvement. This just has to be erased out of the memory and we need to remember what we could’ve done perhaps better, but I think physically today we just didn’t have the legs to compete.”
“I have to give credit for our boys at the back, Trevor Schein, Brady Kelly, and Blake Whitely, it’s a big task especially with these guys running after the ball like they did, but they did a great job,” he added.
“And also the guys who played the whole game, it’s hard to single out certain players but to last the whole game and battle hard after yesterday was definitely complimentary to them.”
Halapir decided to give second-year goaltender Evan Phillips the start after he held Western to a 0-0 tie last week and earned the shutout against the Ridgebacks on Saturday.
“The outcome of the game had nothing to do with the goaltending,” said Halapir.
“The chances they created were clear chances, it wasn’t as though [it was] something our goalies let us down on.”
After allowing five goals, Phillips was replaced with veteran keeper Brett Harrington, but Halapir remains confident in his young netminder.
“I figured there would be more goals and I didn’t want Phillips to get beat up any more than necessary,” he added.
“It has nothing to do with him, it’s a team game.”
The Hawks now sit 3-2-3, which puts them fourth in the OUA West division, five points behind the Guelph Gryphons. Laurier hopes to go back to their winning ways as they host the UOIT Ridgebacks this Friday.
The game against the Ridgebacks is their only one this weekend.
“I don’t even remember when we lost a game like this by such a high score,” Halapir said.
“But we just have to get prepared for next week, this game’s done and we got a hard week of practice to get back at it for Friday.”
Kickoff is set for 8 p.m.