STU soccer shut out opponents in dual home opener

The St. Thomas University Tommies womens soccer team hosted the Crandall University Chargers in a dual home opener on Sept. 18, 2022. (SRM Photography/STU Athletics)

The St. Thomas University Tommies soccer teams hosted the Crandall University Chargers on Sept. 18 in a dual home opener that saw the Tommies walk away with a 4-0 win.

Centre midfielder Cierra Meredith scored two goals and an assist to help secure the win for the women’s team, earning her Tommie of the Day and Athlete of the Week honours.

After taking a year off from soccer, she was ready to be back on the pitch, playing in her first season for the Tommies.

“I just really wanted to get back into it, I missed playing so much,” said Meredith.

Meredith said the team’s focus was to keep up their communication and intensity for the full 90 minutes and be victorious at home.

The team’s performance against Crandall brought more goals for the Tommies in one game than they scored all last season. They were strong defensively, not allowing a single shot on net all game.

With the first goal not coming until the 28-minute mark, it was a slow start for both teams.

“Our team discussed how we need to start the games with as much intensity as we put into the second half. We need to start the game strong instead of easing into it,” said Meredith.

She gave a nod to her teammate and centre midfield Amanda McNally as another standout performance in the match.

“We really connect well in the middle and we both create a lot of opportunities,” said Meredith.

McNally scored the second goal of the game for the Tommies, with Rachel Haanstra notching the third.

The men’s soccer game against Crandall was another victory, though co-captain and defensive-mid Josh Oakes believes the team could have played faster against Crandall’s defensive style of play.

The St. Thomas University Tommies men’s soccer team hosted the Crandall University Chargers in a dual home opener on Sept. 18, 2022. (SRM Photography/STU Athletics)

“We could have played the ball quicker,” he said, “but we passed it well. We communicated well. We didn’t let anything get into our heads and I was happy about that.”

The Tommies had 13 shots on goal compared to Crandall’s two, which were stopped by rookie goalkeeper Nathan Bellemare. STU’s other goals came from veteran players William Benoit, Brett Springer and Ryan MacKinnon.

Coming into the game, the focus was to score goals to ensure a better goal differential at the end of the season and allow rookies to get minutes on the pitch.

“The rookies are all gelling right now because they’re energetic. They all want to win. They all want to compete,” said Oakes.

First-year player Idean Rahimkhani stood out to him in the opening match, notching the third goal of the game as well as an assist.

Oakes is looking forward to hosting playoffs at home and attempting another championship run.