Game Dates and Times:
Friday August 25th – 4:15 pm (at Brock) and Sunday August 27th – 3:00 pm (at McMaster)Game Locations:
Alumni Field, St. Catharines; Ron Joyce Stadium, Hamilton;Live Webcast/Radio Coverage:
Free entry at both Brock and McMasterBuilding on Success
Shortly after 4 pm tomorrow afternoon, the Golden Hawks men’s soccer team begins its 2017 campaign. Under anticipated sunny skies at St. Catharines Alumni Field, Laurier will battle the Brock Badgers in the first game of the regular season. Sunday’s game at Ron Joyce Stadium involves the Golden Hawks taking on a tough opponent in the McMaster Marauders.
The 2015/2016 season featured a strong regular season, evidenced by a fourth-place finish in the OUA West standings with a 9-6-1 regular season record, Laurier’s highest win total since 2001. Unfortunately, the Hawks were upset at home by the lower-seeded Western Mustangs in the first round of the playoffs, placing a difficult end on a promising season.Spotlight on Returning Players
This season, the Hawks are ready to move forward and look to improve. Despite the departure of a few key players, including 2016 OUA men’s soccer first team All-Star Niklas Bauer; the Hawks have several players, both newcomers and returnees, eager for their chance at having a greater role.
With the team’s main goal scoring threat no longer on the field, 4th year forward Nikola Miokovic
(Kitchener, Ont) will be tasked with more pressure to find the net. Miokovic, the second leading scorer from the 2016 campaign, finished with an impressive 7 goals in 13 games. However, for the Golden Hawks to reach their full potential, they’ll need even more from their star striker and ultimately from the other attacking players as well.
The defensive backline could be anchored again by returning members Donte Henry
(Toronto, Ont), Brady Kelly
(Guelph, Ont), Luca Pietropaolo
(Woodbridge, Ont), and two-time OUA All-Star Tahrik Rodriques
(Scarborough, Ont). Key players such as Gurjinder Garcha
(Burlington, Ont) and Aaron Johnston
(Thunder Bay, Ont), in addition to goalkeeper Rocco Strazzella
(Woodbridge, Ont), are set to return as well. All of these players appeared in at least 10 games last season under head coach Mario Halapir
, who will look to build upon the continuity and develop team chemistry amongst the returning players and the incoming recruits.Keep the Good Times Rolling
The Golden Hawks will face the Badgers, who failed to make the playoffs last year and fell in defeat both times they faced the Golden Hawks in 2016. Conversely, Laurier split the season matchup with McMaster 1-1, with the Golden Hawks edging out a victory on the road in early September last season. McMaster, a playoff team last year, lost in the quarterfinals to the future OUA champions, the Guelph Gryphons.
With two formidable opponents, expect some competitive games this weekend as we look forward to a new season of soccer. The Golden Hawks play their first home game September 2nd versus Guelph.