Makubuya leads Badgers to early success

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Brock Badgers men’s soccer team drew 2-2 with the University of Windsor Lancers this past Saturday.

Brock remains undefeated (2-0-1) on the campaign but still should view Saturday as two dropped points. The team twice surrendered leads, with both goals conceded almost immediately after the Badgers scored.

The Badgers came out dominating play, holding possession and constantly asking the question. It was a sly through ball to Alejandro Fuentes that caused Lancers goalkeeper Greg Chac to slip and create the opportunity for Fuentes to capitalize on and open the scoring.

Brock did seem to lose concentration afterwards as a defensive lapse resulted in a free run down the wing for Windsor, practically forcing fullback Shawn Johnson to lunge desperately in the box, giving up a penalty to level the score while somehow managing to avoid a booking.

It could have been worse as the back line was beaten again by another through ball, but Badgers keeper Matthew Haggith dramatically slid and parried the ball away from the rushing striker to hold the game tied at half.

The game became significantly more physical in the second half and this seemed to shake the Brock attack. Although afforded numerous opportunities on set pieces in the attacking half, they were wasted almost every time with wayward shot attempts or feeble crosses.

The game went back and forth until the closing minutes when a flash of excellence by standout rookie Alexander Makubuya as he cut through the box and deposited the ball in the back corner stunned the Lancers by racking up his team-leading second goal and third point of the season.

With everyone assuming victory was all but assured, an errant challenge from about 30 yards led to a last-chance free kick, and of course, Windsor broke the hearts of the Brock faithful.

While the final result was disappointing considering the circumstances, it was still enthralling to watch hometown star recruit Makubuya dazzle the fans and players alike. He was by far the most electric player on the field and the crowd sat on the edge of their seats every time the ball came to his toes.

It is clear that he has become the focal point of the offense as his torrid pace and breathtaking ability to control the ball can simply make defenders look silly. What is even more impressive is his humility and ability to self-reflect and focus on improving his game. After the game, he maintained that he wanted to “get stronger (and) quicker to use speed to get by the defenders.”

Coach Lucio Ianiero pointed out that Makubuya is a result of the heavy recruiting that the Badgers did this offseason in order to bounce back from a dreadful season last year, and was very optimistic about the future of the program with all the new rookies and room to grow.

However, Ianiero was disappointed with his team’s mental lapses following their goals.

“You’re most vulnerable the first five minutes after you score, and clearly we just shut off our minds when we had a job to do, and we paid heavily for it,” said Ianiero.

For a team who has lofty aspirations, following an amazing undefeated start, these gritty details are the next step to becoming a legitimate contender for a provincial title and national championship.

When asked about the expectations being raised towards a first-round bye by finishing as a top-two team in the conference, Ianiero was quick to temper those expectations. “No, we’re not looking too far ahead. We’re facing McMaster, Western, Guelph, and York. We could easily be 2-4-1 after that road trip.”

 -John Gobin, Assistant  Sports & Health Editor 

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