The Durham Lords men’s indoor soccer team is gearing up for the Ontario (OCAA) championships and many team members are looking for their second gold medal of the school year.
After winning their first Canadian (CCAA) outdoor men’s soccer title in November against the VIU Mariners of Vancouver, the Lords have now shifted to the indoor season which began earlier this month.
Durham’s indoor roster mirrors the team that won the national championship. Seventeen players on the indoor roster also won gold outdoors and the coaching staff remains the same.
Durham kicked off their indoor soccer tournament season with a 6-0 win against the Centennial Colts March 5, then went on to win two of their last three games finishing with a 3-1 record.
Lords head coach Dave Ashfield describes the positives and negatives he saw in those four games.
“In our only loss which happened against a strong Fanshawe team we had chances to score and did not capitalize and a couple of minor errors cost us in the end. As for the positive we were a fast-paced team, moving the ball around well and communicating a lot,” Ashfield says.
The challenge for the team of playing indoors is the fact that it’s five-on-five in a small space, compared to the traditional 11-on-11 in the outdoor game.
“Obviously, we played the majority of our season outdoors in a big space, where the players have time to think whereas in a small place we have to play quick and don’t have all day to think,” he says.
Going into the OCAA Championships at Redeemer University in Ancaster Thursday, Ashfield says his team’s energy is great, the players are excited and prepared.
“Everyone on this team has all of their focus in this next phase of the tournament, also the emphasis is on growth allowing some players who do not get a lot of playing time in the fall to work hard and enjoy this moment,” he says.
Defender and captain Aidan Donaldson says he approaches the short indoor season with a lot of hunger.
“We want to win – it’s as simple as that, we want to prove that we can win by playing the game in a small area. Everyone on this team has that hunger mentality, we won’t let anything get in our way,” Donaldson says.
As team captain, Donaldson doesn’t want Durham to take this for granted and wants them to stay humble and focus one game at a time.
“Whoever we play first that’s who we’re focused on, we don’t worry about anything else until we take care of who’s in front of us,” Donaldson says.
The Lords offence has scored 12 goals in their four games. Ashfield says it’s due of his offensive players’ aggressiveness.
“They play really hard, they’ll go for every ball – they don’t stop and that’s what we need if we want to win the whole thing going forward -that ‘I will go for every ball, I need that ball on my feet’ that’s the attitude they need to continue with,” Ashfield says.
The Lords will play Humber College, Fanshawe and Conestoga College in the round robin Thursday. The championship round is Friday.
“These are obviously not going to be any easy games but we’re confident in each other and that’s what we need. It takes a team to win the prize,” Donaldson says.