In my six years at the U of C, the men's soccer program has often performed in the shadow of their female counterparts. Apparently all it took to buck the trend--at least for the opening weekend--was some new blood.
The Dinos, carrying 14 rookies to open the year, played valiantly in a 2-0 road loss to the University of Alberta Golden Bears before heading to Saskatoon and dropping the University of Saskatchewan Huskies 1-0. Their three-point road trip bested the women's one-point opening weekend.
"I feel a lot better about this year after the weekend," explained fourth-year striker and co-captain John Remmer. "The young guys played incredibly well this weekend, I was really impressed with all of them."
Sophomore fullback Adam Onulov echoed his captain's remarks.
"Compared to the preseason, even compared to last year, in our first two games we really got everything organized," he said. "I actually think we played better in our loss."
The game against the Huskies, a game that saw the Dinos dominated the bulk of the time, was particularly sweet for some of the veterans on the roster.
"We've had so many games like that where we're all over them and then we end up losing, but we got the breaks this time," smiled Remmer, satisfied. "I think it came down to Rick (Urbanczyk, goalkeeper against the Huskies). He played an amazing game."
With the opening road trip out of the way, the Dinos now have six of their next seven games on their home pitch at Foothills Stadium, starting this weekend with a home and home against the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns. The home game will go Sat., Sept. 20 at 2:15 p.m. and despite a promising opening to the season, Remmer and the rest of the Dinos know there's no time to ease up.
"We need to play a full 90 minutes, because against the U of S we only played 70," explained Remmer. "We have to get six points this weekend or else we won't have much hope of making playoffs."
For Onulov, success lies in mental preparation more than anything else.
"It's just attitude, we don't need to change anything tactically, we're playing awesome," he stated. "We have a really good time, we have a really tight team."