Concordia impresses in season opening romp of cross town rivals
The Concordia Stingers men’s soccer team put on a show Friday evening, as they dismantled the McGill Redmen 4-0 in front of a sparsely populated opening game crowd. Anchored by the staunch defensive play of freshman center back Nathan Campbell, the much-improved Stingers overwhelmed their cross-town rivals, to earn their first regulation win against McGill since 2003.
“It’s all thanks to the coaches” said Nathan Campbell following the game. “This year we’re coming out with a better work ethic, it’s 100 per cent every time, every practice, you give it your all.”
The Stingers youthful inexperience was apparent in the early going, as the tenured Redmen squad capitalized off their untimely giveaways to generate viable scoring chances. Bending but not breaking, the Stingers managed to weather the early McGill onslaught thanks to the key defensive contributions of Campbell and second-year goalkeeper Wes Aucoin.
Offensively, Concordia netted their first goal late in the first half, thanks to a penetrating run along the flank by fourth-year senior Gabriel Quinn that setup the easy Mitchell O’Brien tally. The Stingers, tasting blood, began pouring it on thick thanks in large part to the impressive two-goal performance of first-year Toronto native, forward Elias Bartiscki who scored his first goal moments later off a Mitchell O’Brien assist; giving the Stingers a 2-0 lead heading into halftime.
“It’s all about your mentality before the game” noted a ecstatic Bartiscki following the victory. Bartiscki who was well-deserving of player of the game honours, acknowledged the level of pressure he was under as one of the team’s most heavily relied-upon offensive pivots despite it being his first year on campus.
“For sure there was a lot of pressure, [but] I really enjoy it, but it definitely gets tough to handle [at times]. With all my family and friends and the whole team behind me, the pressure goes away. When you know you’ve got family behind you, the pressure’s just gone” said Bartiscki.
For the Stingers, coming off a very disappointing 2014 season, this was the dream start they’ve been training for.
“We have a good team, [but] we’re [also] a team with a lot of new faces”, said second-year head coach Gregg Sutton in the postgame interview. “We have expectations of playing to our ability and beyond, I think that’s the best way to look at it, we’re looking to continue to progress and get better and better every game.”
The Stingers will be called upon to be road warriors as they try to salvage their two game road trip after stumbling out the gate in Sunday’s 2-0 loss to the Université de Trois-Rivières. Look for the Stingers to get back to their winning ways against the Université de Montreal, Sept. 18 at 7 p.m. at CEPSUM stadium.