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Men’s soccer looking to repeat success

Adam Travis / The Brunswickan

Adam Travis / The Brunswickan

 

This time last year, few sports pundits would have predicted the University of New Brunswick’s men’ssoccer team’s success at the national level. As hosts of the CIS National Championships last November, the Varsity Reds put up an impressive string of victories and advanced to the semi-final game, before falling to York University in dramatic fashion. Despite the loss, many loyal V-Red fans have referred to it as a storybook season.

As coach of the men’s soccer team, however, Miles Pinsent sees it in a slightly different light. “It’s a new season and a new group of players, so we have to be careful with too many direct correlations between last season and the upcoming one,” said Pinsent. “Every team goeshrough the same turnover each year, so it will be a completely different makeup across the country.”

Pinsent told his players that it is up to them to use their past successes to help them, particularly in the area of experience when it comes to competing at the highest level. “If we take some of those little successes for granted and just expect to win this year, we will not meet our potential and not build on last year’s success,” said Pinsent. “We will try to use what we learned in the past, but really have to focus on the present season.”

Having brought in a highly skilled recruiting classlast year, Pinsent is looking for several key second-year players to step up and play bigger roles.

It should come as no surprise that Marcus Lees and Diego Padihla are expected to lead the team in thecoming season. In 2013, both players were named Atlantic University Sport (AUS) all-stars, with Padihla also being crowned AUS Rookie of the Year and a CIS First Team All-Canadian.

“We are depending on several players to grow into different roles in order to fill the number of spots that we have open due to graduation,” said the coach.

Looking towards the team’s opening games against Memorial University this weekend, Pinsent said that he’s always the most anxious for the opening games of the season, giving him a chance to see his players in action for the first time in league play. “When it comes to preparation, it’s really just a matter of trying to get the guys organized and laying down some basic principles that we will continue to build on throughout the season.”

In pre-season play, the Varsity Reds faced the Montreal Impact Under-23 squad on Aug. 23, which allowed the coaching staff a glimpse of how the team will fare against high-calibre competition.

“A week before the game I was really looking forward to the game,” said Pinsent. “Then as training camp started and we saw the number of injuries we had, and the number of starters that wouldn’t beavailable when it came game day, I was almost dreading the matchup. We weren’t sure how well wewould hold up after only two days of training and a large number of guys who had never played for UNB before.”

Nevertheless, UNB’s team had a very strong showing against a nationally renowned team — falling 2-0— and hope to expand on the growing experience.

After this weekend’s games in St. John’s, the team returns home for their BMO Centre opener

on Sept.13 against Cape Breton University.

 

Varsity Reds Men’s Soccer Past Five Seasons

2013: 8-2-3 (1st in AUS; won AUS Championship; won bronze at CIS Nationals)

2012: 9-3-1 (1st in AUS; lost to CBU in AUS Championship; 0-2 at CIS Nationals)

2011: 3-6-4 (7th in AUS; missed playoffs)

2010: 6-5-2 (5th in AUS; eliminated by CBU in quarter-finals)

2009: 7-2-4 (3rd in AUS; eliminated by UdeM in quarter-finals)

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