Disappointing. This word was used by both the men’s soccer head coach, Lucio Ianiero, and women’s soccer head coach, Kevin Trethowan, to describe their end-of-season results. In a year where both teams had hoped to make the playoffs and turn some heads once they were there, but it never culminated on the field. With the past in the rear view mirror, Ianiero has won a prestigious award for his regular season performance, and the women’s soccer team has notched a key recruit for next year.
This past week, Brock University announced that central defender Lindsay Appleton has committed to be a Badger next season. This year, an area of weakness for the Badgers was their defending by the back four, and Trethowan is sure that Appleton will be able to make an impact in her freshman campaign.
“Appleton is a perfect blend of traditional and modern-day centre halves. She is a strong, committed defender who is not afraid to put herself about. On the other side of the coin, she loves being on the ball and is always looking to move the ball around to create attacking opportunities. Secondly, in the modern game, it is more important than ever that every player is comfortable on the ball and Lindsay is extremely strong in this area as well.”
While her technical ability can be talked about all day, her experience is what attracted Trethowan and the program to Appleton from the beginning.
“We want players coming into the university who have played high level soccer. Appleton comes from Woodbridge Strikers playing in League 1 Ontario, so she is coming from the highest level of club soccer in Ontario.”
The team would have welcomed Appleton earlier after a slow start in which the Badgers took four games to get a win. As the teamed looked to be putting it all together with a new system in place by the first-year head coach, disaster struck with just five games left in the season. The OUA ruled that Brock had used an ineligible player in four of the first five regular season games, meaning all results would be noted as 1-0 losses. The Badgers went from a comfortable playoff spot to the outside looking in after being stripped of five points. In the end, Brock would end up missing the playoffs by three points.
With Appleton already on the roster and a couple of players graduating, Trethowan knows that this signing is just the beginning of a long journey ahead.
“It’s non-stop for us when it comes to recruiting. We have a few players on the verge of signing, including players outside of Ontario, and I am hoping to add at least one or two of them in the coming months. We have identified key targets for 2018 and 2019 and now we just need to keep close tabs on their development and continue to put ourselves out there.”
In other soccer news, the OUA announced awards for the men’s soccer regular season, and there were a couple of Brock names among the elite. Defender Eric Bradey was named an OUA first-team all-star, and coach Ianiero was named the Western Conference Coach of the Year.
Although the individual accolades may be sweet, it is certain that the entire team and coaching staff feels the sting after bowing out 1-0 to Western in their quarter-final match. The team had finished 6-8-2 to make the playoffs for the first time since 2011, and Ianiero had high hopes for the team to make a run.
“The work we do isn’t about looking for personal accomplishments. We work tirelessly to get the message across to the boys that team is first and foremost. For individuals to be awarded for the work that the group does is great, but that’s not our goal. There’s still a lot of work to do. We’re still going to be looking for ways to improve the squad from hereon in, until we win nationals.”