Tommies struggle in home opener

DSC_0397St. Thomas University’s women’s soccer coach Alex Valerio said amateur mistakes in the first half ended up costing STU in their 4-0 loss to the Holland College Hurricanes. It was the team’s first home game of the regular season and Valerio’s first as the Tommies’ head coach. She compared the Tommies’ errors to buttons on a button-up shirt. “If one button is wrong, it’s all wrong and that’s what happened to us,” Valerio said. “Someone stepped or dove in when they weren’t supposed to and then it was a scramble.” Tessa Fudge led the Hurricanes with two goals, while Robin Knickle and Megan Spicer added one each for Holland College. Throughout the first half, the Tommies appeared out of touch with their groove,  before showing a little more fight to hold off a dominant Holland College squad in the second half. Valerio said STU made an effort to get a grip after trailing 3-0 at halftime and the Tommies played better defensively in the second half. “Offensively, I think we generated a lot, especially in the first half and the start of the second half,” she said.  “We lost some steam going forward and made some subs to keep things going. However, Valerio said she wasn’t disappointed with the Tommies’ effort. “We tried to establish our shape early, but we got behind and got pinned in the back half by pressure, which gets tiring and causes us to make mistakes we shouldn’t make,” she said. “We kind of sorted that out and it’s just a matter of playing together more.” Valerio admitted the Tommies have only been together as a team unit since training camp began about two weeks ago and a lack of consistently playing together has caused some growing pains. “I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel, but I’m trying to do things differently than what they’ve done before, so it takes some time for everyone to get on the same page and be a well-oiled machine.” STU split their two preseason games, downing the University of Maine at Machias 3-1 after first falling 1-0 to Bishop’s University. “Those were two results we were happy with, and we’ve been steadily improving since then, so 4-0 is a misleading score,” said Valerio. Mija MacDonald made her regular season debut in net for STU on Saturday, which isn’t her usual position. The rookie’s efforts didn’t go unnoticed by her coach. “She did very well in terms of stopping what she needed to stop,” Valerio said. “Distribution is something she’s working on, and she’s trying to become confident enough to play short and know when to kick long. She plays volleyball too, so she’s defensive-minded and does well. She had some grabs I thought were exceptional.” STU had their second game of the season Sunday against the Dalhousie Agricultural College Rams. The score ended in a tie at one. The Tommies will look to improve their record this weekend, with games against the University of Kings College, and Mount Saint Vincent University.

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