A balance of good veteran talent and rookie prospects is what Mohawk head coach Richard Bennett has, as the men’s soccer team starts its 2010 Ontario Colleges Athletic Association regular season against the Humber Hawks this afternoon (Wed. Sep. 15).
The coach concedes that one pre-season game, (a 4-2 win at Redeemer) is not a lot to go on, but he likes what he sees. “I’m very optimistic about the rookies, said Bennett. “There’s pretty good potential. This could be a strength for the team this year.”
There are several returning players, starting with goalkeeper Branden Agro. Some of the other veterans include striker Adam Bond, who missed the latter part of 2009 through injury, midfielders Sirwan Irandost and Matthew Kernick and central defender Nelson Waziri.
Bennett, entering his 10th season as Mohawk coach and assisted again by David Morrison, feels this will be a disciplined side that goes into the season with a good mindset. “My goal is to have the team get off to a good start. Right now I’m only concerned with the first two games, both at home against Humber and then another big rival, Sheridan, next week. Then we’ll see how the rest of the season pans out.”
The Mohawk women’s soccer team also opens up this afternoon versus Humber with Renzo Castellani at the helm for a 17th season. The three-time OCAA Women’s Soccer Coach of the Year and one time top Canadian coach, feels good going into the season. “I’m really optimistic”, said Castellani. “The goal is to make the provincials… minimum.”
The Mountaineers recruited two goalkeepers to be understudies to Alex Martinez who is entering her final year. They also picked up a couple of good players at each of the midfield and fullback positions. And Castellani is fortunate to have some excellent returning personnel, including the exciting midfielder Zalona Caruso, stopper/sweeper Carlee Myles and a pair of players who fill an important utility role playing in various positions, Ashley Lane and Lana Martin.
Mohawk lost its pre-season test, 3-1 at Redeemer, but it was only because of some lapses in a game which saw the Mountaineers with a decided territorial advantage. Castellani and his co-coach, son Michael, hope the mistakes are kept to a minimum when they play for real, starting today.
Both games begin this afternoon at 4:30 p.m. at Mohawk Sports Park.