By Chieu Luu Luong
Although his team lost its OUA South/Central Division opener, Ryerson men’s soccer head coach Stuart Miller was barely concerned.
The skipper, in his ninth year with the squad, liked what he saw from the sidelines of Birchmount Stadium in Scarborough, even though a goal with 10 minutes gave the Brock Badgers in a 1-0 win over Ryerson.
“I was happy with our effort,” Miller said. “One mistake at the end…and it cost us the game. But it could have gone either way, the whole time.”
With seven new players on the team and a crop of returning players, Miller believes this year’s team has a realistic shot of making the playoffs, which it missed last year.
He said several players shone in pre-season practices and during Saturday’s game, including new goalkeeper Oliver Strong, Dante Casasanta and team captain Ivano DeLuca, who came close to scoring early in Saturday’s game.
DeLuca, who is in his fourth year with the Rams, said even though they’ve only been practicing for three weeks, this year’s team already has been chemistry than last year’s, which went 4-10 to place sixth in the OUA East division.
“I think this year’s team is a little bit more skilful,” he said. “We’re not weak in nay positions at all.
From goaltender all the way up front we’re a very strong team. This was our second game together and we still haven’t gelled it together, but I think by next week we’ll be ready to go.”
Miller said having a stronger team and new division, which includes Guelph, McMaster and Brock, improves the chance of making the playoffs.
“We’re playing less games, 10 as opposed to 14, and the time frame is the same,” Miller said.
The difference is players will have more days off to recover from injuries suffered during games.
Although the players put up a strong effort against Brock, Miller said the team will have to work on its marking in practices so it can win its remaining nine games.
But Galvin Binda, another four-year veteran of the team, said he thinks players needs to work on their conditioning.
“It’s a better start than what I expected, but we’ve still got a long way to go,” Binda said. “We were all on the ball, nice touches, but at the end of the game we got tired and that’s how they scored.”
The men’s team travels to the University of Waterloo to take on the Warriors Saturday before hosting the Wilfred Laurier Golden Hawks Sunday at 1 p.m. at Birchmount Stadium.