Despite high hopes, the Varsity Reds saw limited success last weekend against the Dalhousie Tigers and the Acadia Axemen.
“The first two weekends of our season are, in a lot of respects, the most important ones,” said head coach Miles Pinsent.
Despite feeling prepared after a productive preseason and with an air of quiet confidence rising throughout the team, unfortunately, the results did not reflect their poise.
The Reds started their Acadia match up strong, scoring at the 28th minute through a cross from fifth-year Marcus Lees that connected across the box with third-year Oisin McKenna. McKenna buried the ball in the net for his first goal this season.
One of the Reds’ goals for the weekend was to remain aggressive and play with high intensity.
“We need to initiate the attack, otherwise it will be a stalemate,” said Pinsent.
Despite keeping control of the ball for the majority of the game, the Reds gave away a penalty kick in the last ten minutes of play. This critical error allowed for Acadia to capitalize on the rebound, resulting in the final score of 1-1.
Continuing their efforts on the road, the team then met Dalhousie. The last time they met, the Tigers fell to the Reds 5-0 in the AUS quarter-finals.
Against Dal, the Reds continued high intensity gameplay and pressure—pressure that kept the game scoreless until halfway. Tigers responded to this early stalemate by scoring on keeper Evan Barker in the 49th minute, followed by another goal with 16 minutes left in play. The fast-paced game ended with a score of 2-0 in favour of Dalhousie.
“It’s a short season but you have to build off of everything,” said Kalen Park.
Pinsent said that, going forward, the team is looking to resolve their detailed issues and pursue the rest of the season by “making sure that [they] are hitting the ground running and are as prepared as [they] can be.”
This trip marked the first regular season games that fifth-year Robbie Park was able to return to play after his injury last season.
“It feels absolutely fantastic,” said Park.
“I didn’t really look after myself in the previous offseason,” he added. “This time, I gave myself a better chance.”
In the past, Robbie has been a crucial member of the UNB squad, scoring a total of 12 goals in his university career. Nine of these goals were scored in the 2015-2016 season, the year before he was halted by his injury.
Looking ahead, the Varsity Reds men’s soccer team continue their regular season home opener against Cape Breton University on Sept. 16 at 3:15 p.m. at BMO Field. The Reds lost 1-0 against CBU in their last meeting during the 2016 season.
The Reds will then finish off the weekend by playing St. FX on Sept. 17 at 3:15 p.m. at BMO Field. In their last two meetings, the Reds tied with the X-Men. All AUS conference matches can be found on AUStv.ca.