X-Men start season with US exhibition road swing

X-Men start season with US exhibition road swing

The StFX X-Men soccer team kicked off the season with a weekend exhibition road swing through the northeastern United States.

The blue and white wrapped up the trip with a 0-0 tie against the Southern New Hampshire University Penman Monday afternoon (Aug. 29).

"This was a game where every healthy player got minutes against an excellent NCAA Division 2 powerhouse," X-Men head coach Graham Kennedy said.

He added X-Men Natneal Tecle (Calgary, AB) and Ben Herringer (Calgary, AB) "caused a lot of problems for the Penman."

Graham noted Matt Lannan (Port Williams, NS) "made several key saves in the second half to earn us a hard fought draw in our fourth game of the tour." 

The X-Men opened the excursion with a 2-0 loss to Brown University last Thursday afternoon (Aug. 25) in Providence, Rhode Island.

"This was our first game of the year, after only three days of practice," Kennedy said.

"I thought we played very well, especially considering that we've implemented a new formation."

He added goalkeepers Lannan and Thomas Pieroway (Conception Bay, NL), who split duties between the pipes, "played exceptionally well."

Kennedy described the play of freshman defender Josh Read (Bath, England) as "outstanding." 

On Saturday (Aug. 27), StFX employed a split squad for a pair of matches, a 2-0 win over Merrimack College in North Andover, Massachusetts, and a 1-0 defeat to Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire.

"We played this game [Merrimack] with a split squad of 12 players, at 2 p.m., in 32 degrees, while the rest of the team played against St. Anselm," Kennedy explained.

"Our play was more fluid and we controlled the first half and were rewarded with two excellent goals from Dan Hayfield (Exeter, UK) and Nat Tecle."

He added freshmen Tane Caubo (London, England) had "an excellent outing."

"Pieroway had an excellent game, especially in the second half, when we had to soak up a few periods of pressure from a solid Merrimack squad," Kennedy said.

In the shutout loss to St. Anselm, the X-Men head coach said Max Vandale (Calgary, AB) "played an excellent 90 minutes in goal in his first full match as an X-Man."

"But we couldn't covert at the other end. Overall, we controlled the majority of game and were unlucky not to score," Kennedy added.

The X-Men will wrap up the exhibition schedule versus the rival Cape Breton University Capers Sunday, Sept. 4, at 11 a.m., at StFX Stadium.

The X-Men open AUS regular season action when they host the UPEI Panthers (Saturday, Sept. 10) and the UNB Varsity Reds (Sunday, Sept. 11).

Both matches are scheduled for 3:15 p.m. at StFX Stadium.