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(Lauren Benson-Armer / McGill Tribune)

Soccer: Redmen refreshed by rookies

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The McGill Redmen (2-0-0) soccer team is off to a roaring start, defeating the Sherbrooke Vert et Or 4-0 on Thursday night at Percival Molson stadium. With two wins in their first two games of the season, they are the only undefeated team in the RSEQ conference. Last season, the Redmen finished fifth with a 3-8-1 record. Their performances in the first two games this year, however, have made it clear that this is a very different group.

“We have a great recruiting class,” Head Coach Marc Mounicot said. “Since day one, it’s working well.”

With 13 rookies joining the Redmen for the 2016 season, half of the team is new to the McGill program. The athletes echoed Mounicot’s comments, speaking positively about the newest additions to the squad.

“[The rookies] brought in a great energy,” goalkeeper Bladen Allan remarked. “All of them fit in extremely well [.…There is a] great feeling all around.”

Many first year players have already made an impact in their short time with the team. This season, four of the team’s nine goals have come from players who are wearing McGill’s colours for the first time.

Freshman striker Mehdi Ibn-Brahim has scored 2 goals for the Redmen so far. Most recently, he beat the Sherbrooke goalkeeper in the 13th minute with a cheeky back-heel touch from just past the front post. McGill rounded out the scoreline with two goals from master’s student Valentin Radevich and one from first-year forward Raphael Tepe.

“It’s always a pleasure to win,” Ibn-Brahim said. “We [had] some great passes [and] good possession.”

The Redmen were equally impressive on defence. Veteran defenders Davide Salvoni and Justin Dragan were joined by first-year players Ramdane Tafer and Alexis Solis in Thursday’s starting lineup. They worked as a cohesive unit, and denied Sherbrooke any dangerous opportunities.

As the Redmen continue to fight for a playoff berth, it will be interesting to see how the young group handles the more experienced teams in the league. The Redmen hit the road next week, playing away games against first-ranked UQTR Patriotes and third-ranked Laval Rouge et Or. They will then return to home turf on Sept. 30 for a matchup against the reigning RSEQ champions, the UQAM Citadins.

Quotable:

“We have [the quality] to beat all of the teams. [Everyone] has to be careful when they come to McGill.” – Midfielder Valentin Radevich

Stat of the game:

Senior goalkeeper Bladen Allan made 7 saves to give McGill its first clean sheet of the season.

Moment of the game:

For his second goal of the game, Valentin Radevich caught the Sherbrooke goalie off his line with a shot from 35 yards out. 

 

A former version of this article published on Sept. 18, 2016 incorrectly spelled goalkeeper Bladen Allan’s name. The Tribune regrets this error. 

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