Canisius soccer wins final game
By Colin Richey, Assistant Sports Editor
The men’s soccer team won their last game of the season on Saturday, defeating Saint Peter’s 3–0 while celebrating Senior Day.
The Griffs started hot, with senior forward Luke Szablewski notching his first goal of the season in the sixth minute of the game. Freshmen Edson Flores and Matthew Fischer were credited with assists on the play. Canisius built on their lead right before the end of the first half, scoring in the 44th minute. Freshman forward Mason Petrucci capitalized on a rebound after junior Ely Sidibe’s shot deflected off of the goalkeeper. In the 60th minute, sophomore Daniel Longo attempted a free kick from just outside the box, sending a cross toward the net. The pass deflected off of a defender for Saint Peter’s, finding the back of the net for an unconventional third Canisius goal.
Graduate student goalkeeper Spencer Catalano earned his first career shutout and first career win as a starter in what was his final game as a Griff. Defenders Riley Wagner, AJ Zarcone and Inder Thind played the full 90 minutes of the game.
When describing the game, head coach Michael Tanke saw a difference in play for the Griffs. “There was a real focus from the group. We’ve been playing and executing well all season, but we were lacking a killer instinct or a real ruthless focus on some moments, and I think they had that in the game,” he said. “We had a whole collective focus on all our actions. When you do that, those actions add up to pretty fun soccer and pretty fun results.”
Coach Tanke analyzed the season as a whole, and he said he thinks the team is trending in the right direction. “The record is a bleak reality: there’s no hiding from the record. But we only scored nine goals last season. We scored 27 this year — we tripled our goal total,” he clarified. “We are second in goals scored in the league, [and] second in goals per game in the league. We have the least amount of cautions, yellow and red cards, in the league. So we’re the best-behaved team in the league. And I think we’re still the youngest team in the league… I think you’d be crazy not to think we [are] moving in the right direction.” He admitted, “What we didn’t do well was defend.”
The loss of senior Inder Thind on the team next season is something Tanke doesn’t take lightly. “Inder will be tough [to replace]. [He] starts every game, pretty much plays every minute, and he is a really good defender. It’s actually unfair to think of all the goals we conceded this year and how our defensive record has been poor, but Inder is such a good defender. It’s an unfair reflection of him. He’s probably saved 10 goals himself, so think of how poor our defending would have been without him. He’s so good in defending moments. He’ll be tough to replace, but that’s part of the job.” He mentioned Jason Hernandez and Alberto Reyes as possible options to start on the backline.
This offseason, Coach Tanke will continue to have the team focus on defense, but it isn’t as simple as zeroing in on defensive improvement. ”It’s not like American football or basketball. We have to get better defensively, which means we have to get better at everything. The better we are with the ball, the less counter attacks we’re conceding. The better we are defending 1v1 moments without fouling means the less set pieces we have to defend.”
The Griffs finished with a conference record of 1–6–3 and an overall record of 2–11–5. Sophomores Glodie Mata and Michael Switala led the team with four goals each, while Sidibe finished the year with a team-high 10 points.