Three years and one pandemic after winning a national soccer title, the Durham College men’s soccer team hopes it’s heading back in the right direction following an impressive 4-0 win against the Centennial Colts at its home opener on Friday.
The men’s team was able to collect all three points following a dominant display of attacking soccer.
Goals from Evan Amaral, Anthony Barrese, Tyrell Thompson and Skylar Grey helped the Lords cruise to a win, showing the qualities that head coach Dave Ashfield hopes to see more of this season.
“Last year, we had a good group of players but we’ve really worked hard to increase our team speed again and our tenacity, and it showed tonight,” Ashfield said.
Returning goalkeeper Garrett Werner was able to secure his first clean sheet of the season, stopping 10 shots on the night and keeping his defence alert to the Colts’ attack.
Ashfield said the team has lots of speed and guys that can play on the ball but there’s still room to improve.
“We’re just working to get our structures and patterns moving a little better and once that happens I think it will be really good,” he said.
Ashfield said it has been “tough” for the Lords after losing two years of in-person recruiting.
The Lords were the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association national champions in 2019 but the coach said more than half of those players have not returned, many of whom would have been back had it not been for the pandemic.
Meanwhile, earlier in the first match of the night, the women’s team secured a 0-0 draw against the visiting Colts. Despite continued pressure, including 11 shots on target, the Lords were unable to break the deadlock after 90 minutes.
Before kickoff, head coach Alex Bianchi said the team has plans to be more dangerous in attack this season.
He’s relying on newly recruited forwards Sage Thomas-Roberts and Kyra Barton to be the team’s goal threats.
“We’re looking to get back to where we were two years ago, pre-COIVD,” Bianchi said. “We’re really looking for more offensive punch going forward,”
Post-game, first-year player Sinéad Kappel, part of the defence that held the Colts scoreless on Friday, said the team is already looking to secure better results in upcoming matches.
“Obviously, it’s the first game of the season and you take it and move forward, knowing that you have the rest of the season to look forward to,” Kappel said.
Kappel’s mentality is shared by Bianchi, who said the chemistry of the squad is as important as the results.
“I want to see a group of people that are devoted to the team,” Bianchi said. “The main focus is the team and the goals of the team. That helps us in achieving where we want to get.”
Prior to the start of the regular season, the team went tree top trekking together to start to build connections.
Both Lords teams travel to Toronto on Sunday, Sept. 11 to face the George Brown Huskies.
The men’s team will be looking to secure another three points before returning to Vaso’s Field for a doubleheader the following weekend.
“We got to get a ticket to get into the dance, so continued growth for us through the season towards the playoffs is what we need to do,” Ashfield said.
The men’s team finished the pre-season with 1-1-1- record, while the women finished 2-0.