By: Victor Gouchee
The Clan began their season as perfectly as you could imagine on Thursday night at Terry Fox Field. The SFU men’s soccer team hosted their old Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) opponents, the University of Mary Marauders, on August 31 and proved why they were favoured to repeat as GNAC champions with an 8–0 thrashing of the Marauders.
“[It] feels great to . . . get a win at home . . . [and] to do it in the fashion that we did it in was extra special,” said Head Coach Clint Schneider on what it means to kickstart the season in such a blowout manner.
The Clan controlled the match from start to finish. The backline was solid as per usual, the midfield was congested and made it difficult for the Marauders to maintain possession, and the attackers were clinical in capitalizing on scoring opportunities.
When winning so comfortably, it is often difficult to note weaknesses, but Schneider had this to say on what the team needs to work out: “We talk a lot about how we respond when we make a mistake . . . are we working hard to get the ball back? Or do we have our head down? I want our guys to always have a positive reaction when things don’t go our way . . . it’s something we did OK with today, but can get better [at].”
It may be something to note that the eight goals scored by the Clan were scored by seven different players. Knowing that the entire squad is capable of scoring definitely eases everyone’s minds.
Freshman Matteo Polisi got the ball rolling for SFU by scoring in the third minute of the match, from a brilliant assist by Jeff Cadman, who seems to be a solid right back choice to replace the absence of Anthony Van de Vendel. Cadman helped the Clan earn a shutout and hold the Marauders to only one shot on goal, as well as adding two assists to the attack.
Goals were scored by Matteo Polisi (2), Mamadi Camara, Michael North, Adam Jones, Magnus Kristensen, Rahid Rahiem, and Marcello Polisi, who potentially had the best finish of the game with a 30-yard belter into the bottom corner.
The surprise of the game came in the coach’s decision to start Matteo Polisi up top instead of the reigning GNAC freshman of the year, Riley Pang. Clint Schneider explained his decision: “I have two players in Riley Pang and Matteo Polisi who can score goals and make goals . . . I feel comfortable with each of them starting and playing minutes up top . . . it’s a credit to the young guys who have come in and pushed for minutes.”
Of course, this decision paid off as the younger Polisi brother scored twice on his National Collegiate Athletic Association debut. To say they are a deeper squad than last season is a good sign for Clan fans — to be deeper than the team from a season ago who was ranked number two in the nation is definitely a step in the right direction.
Schneider mentioned he wants his boys to attack the season 45 minutes at a time, never getting too far ahead of themselves, and always giving their all to the areas they can control: work rate, attitude, and mentality.
Next up for the Clan is a pair of road games versus California opponents in Billings, Montana. The men’s soccer team is back on Terry Fox Field September 15 when they take on Slippery Rock University.