The Brock men’s soccer program failed to complete a season with at least five wins in conference play since 2011. Last season, they were capable of surpassing that with a 6-8-2 record.
That record was good enough to land them in fifth place in a highly competitive OUA West division. This showing also qualified them for a playoff spot.
With these recent results in mind, it’s easy to have a positive outlook on the direction this team is heading in and the upcoming season presents itself as great opportunity for the program to take another step forward. Last season, the Badgers fell 1-0 to the Western Mustangs in round one of the OUA playoffs, but head coach Lucio Ianiero believes this team is capable of more in 2018-19.
“Our team goal is to try and make it to the next round of playoffs. Go one step further than last season,” said Ianiero. “In order for us to be able to accomplish that, we need to stay healthy and capitalize on our offensive chances when they arise.”
The Badgers will look to a recruiting class of 12 new faces to step in and continue the program’s forward momentum.
“We believe that the recruitment process has improved our current existing talent pool. The freshmen coming in have implemented our strategies very well to date,” Ianiero said of his young additions.
The defensive aspect of the game will be a particular focus for the Badgers this season, as this will be the area most influenced by the influx of new players. Brock finished 10th out of 18 teams in the OUA in goals against average at 1.42 a season ago and are striving for improvement in this area.
“One thing the squad is working on is cohesiveness along our back line. If we can accomplish this, we should be able to limit teams attacks and therefore concede less goals,” Ianiero mentioned in reference to his team’s preseason preparation.
During their two exhibitions games the Badgers showed both positives and negatives. These early season experiences are important for growth and improvement, and Ianiero is confident that once the team works on the issues that were shown, they will be able to continue with the programs progress.
This past weekend, in their coming two games of the season, the Badgers were able to go 1-1. They fell to the Waterloo Warriors 2-0, although the team had multiple bright spots. They bounced back a day later with a 1-0 win over Laurier, as Jared Agyemang scored the lone goal.
In the past, Brock has opened their seasons on a positive note, as they had won two of their last three season openers – playing for a tie in the third. This season didn’t get off to the same start, but a quick bounce back gave the Badgers their first three points of the season.
Getting off on the right foot will be important for this team as they set out on a tough stretch of matches against Western, Guelph, McMaster and, defending OUA champion, York, moving forward. These four schools are the only teams to finish ahead of the Badgers in the West table a season ago.
But these Badgers understand the challenges that lie ahead and what it takes to reach the postseason. It will be worth watching this team build throughout the season, and according to Ianiero, you should know what to expect from this team.
“Our message has been consistent throughout the last three years. Come to training, learn, apply and do not get outworked by anybody.”