By DYLAN DACOSTA
Conestoga’s men’s outdoor soccer team rued their defensive mistakes as their early elimination from the playoffs meant that they had to watch Humber College win the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) championship with a 2-0 victory over Seneca College on Oct. 27.
The Condors had a solid record of five wins, one draw and two losses as they approached their qualification game against Sheridan College on Oct. 14, but mistakes and bad luck sent them home licking their wounds as Sheridan edged them 3-2 and secured a spot in the quarterfinals.
Sheridan became bronze medalists as they defeated St. Clair 4-2 in the bronze medal game – a title which Conestoga held just one season prior.
Coach Aldo Krajcar was proud of his team’s performance against Sheridan, but was left regretting some bad decisions from both his players and the officials, as defensive lapses and a goal disallowed for an offside call cost his team the game.
“I really thought that in the second half against Sheridan we would win the game,” he said. “But we made some mistakes and the referee also missed some important calls.”
The result was a reflection of the season as a whole for the Condors, who were good offensively but collectively needed to tighten up at the back.
“We were good offensively but we can’t hold our own defensively sometimes,” said Krajcar. “We can always score a goal or two but we shouldn’t concede some of the chances that we do.”
The team had a tendency to be flat-track bullies; they beat up on inferior opposition but didn’t get the results they wanted against some of the more competitive teams in the league.
This was evident in a 1-1 league draw against Sheridan and also a 1-0 loss to Humber early in the Condors’ season. Midfielder Keith Araujo, a student in the business insurance co-op program at the college, agreed.
“We struggled against the big teams to get results,” he said. “We made some defensive blunders and struggled to score in the big games.”
Krajcar recognizes the need for consistency against all levels of opposition and hopes that he can add a third practice to the team’s weekly schedule next season to increase the level of preparation and build on what the team accomplished this year.
“I’d like three different practices a week to focus on tactics, fitness and technique,” Krajcar said, adding that this would help the team reach the level of consistency and performance that he desires.
Araujo’s Condors career came to an end this year as he completed his fourth season for the team, but he believes that next season the team can reach their playoff goals if they work hard in practice.
“We had good team spirit and were all friends,” he said. “But we need to work on our focus and commitment to actually improving ourselves.”
Krajcar always expects his teams to make the playoffs and challenge for the OCAA championships, and he believes that if the rookies improve and the team learns to play more as a unit then they have a great opportunity to go far in the competition next season.
“We have speed in attack and good technique but sometimes we are too individual and need to work on being a team more,” he said. “We have to implement the importance of playing as a team and making intelligent decisions throughout the game.”