BY ETHAN KOMPF
Conestoga College’s indoor soccer teams got off to a strong start on Jan. 22. Both the men’s and women’s teams competed in a tournament at the CORE lifestyle and fitness complex in Kitchener and fared well.
The men’s team won their first three games without having a goal scored on them, but lost in the finals, taking second in the tournament. The women’s team won their first two games without a goal scored on them, but lost their next two games, leaving them in fourth.
Both teams felt strong going into the tournament.
“We felt really good, really confident,” said Sarah Ongarato, a player on the women’s team. “We practised hard and we were expected to win today.
Both teams played their first game against St. Lawrence College Brockville, the men winning 5-0 and the women 4-0. Their second game was against Lakehead. The men had crisp, accurate passes and most of the play took place in Lakehead’s end. Conestoga’s shots were wild at times, but with their strong defence, they easily won the match 6-0. The women’s game had more back and forth, but the Condors delivered when it mattered and came out on top 3-0. In their third game against Centennial, the men won 1-0 and the women suffered their first loss 3-1.
The men played in the finals against Sheridan College, which was one of the teams they were most worried about. Sheridan scored early in the game and followed that up with a few close, powerful shots. Conestoga struggled with defence and Sheridan took advantage of it. The Condors could not match their intensity. Sheridan scored two more goals and the Conestoga players became frustrated with each other. Tempers ran high and Conestoga’s play became sloppy. They lost the match 4-0, taking second in the tournament.
The women’s team faced Georgian College for third place and only fared a little better than the men. Georgian scored early and Conestoga struggled to keep them out of their end, although they played well defensively. Georgian scored twice more in the match and although Conestoga scored a late goal, it wasn’t enough and they lost 3-1, leaving them in fourth.
“We got tired … but we still played really well and I’m proud of how our team played,” said Ongarato. “I’m feeling really confident that our team’s going to do really well (this season).”
For the men’s team, this tournament was a huge success when compared to their outdoor season. The team has not won a regular season game in outdoor soccer since 2012. Part of the reason for the Condors’ change in fortunes may have been a change in coaches. In an interview with Matthew Davidson last year, a player on the team at the time, he said many players on the team were dissatisfied with the coaching staff. Now that the coaching staff has changed, the team seems happier.
“The impact of bringing in two new coaches has been really good for the dynamic of the team,” said Stefan Brisevac, a Conestoga player. “The atmosphere in training has changed immensely. It’s increased positivity and players’ confidence.”