The Queens College men’s soccer team had a seven-game undefeated streak and a 5:28:16 time span without allowing a goal heading into their conference clash with the New York Institute of Technology.
Both came to an end Saturday afternoon.
While some coaches would have been bitterly frustrated, head Coach Carl Christian remained positive that his club has what it takes to make it to the East Coast Conference (ECC) playoffs. Before the season began, not too many others expressed that belief.
“It’s disappointing, but it’s a bit of a reality check,” said Christian, referring to the loss. “Preseason, the coaches in the conference picked us to finish bottom, so it has been enjoyable the little run we’ve had.”
With two conference games remaining, one of which will be against the conference leader, C.W. Post, there is nothing they can do but move forward. Christian is pleased with the position the team is in. The Knights are currently tied for second place with NYIT.
A lot of the team’s recent success can be attributed to the outstanding play of junior Danny Stoker. The London native was selected for his second straight weekly award from the ECC last week and contributed a goal against NYIT in their 2-1 loss. He is proud of the team’s accomplishments and ready to move forward with the season.
“We’ve grown as a team, we’ve got better, and every game we take it as it comes and we’re ready for everything,” said Stoker.
Coach Christian has been more than pleased with the dynamic Stoker. Depending on the game or situation, he can be an imposing striker at the top of a formation or add depth to the defensive back position. On Saturday, Stoker started the game on defense and moved to forward in the second half to give the team a boost on offense, which he did in the 75th minute with his 11th goal on the year.
“We flip-flop him based on the opponent and he’s done a wonderful job on each side of the ball .… It’s great to have that,” said Christian.
Both Christian and Stoker agree on one thing: that the playoffs, first and foremost, are the ultimate goal. The Knights had a 5-12-1 record last year and have improved on that mark already with a 6-6-3 overall record. Christian believes their slow start to the season could be erased in the last three games on the schedule and a playoff birth would mean trouble for the rest of the ECC.
Christian is in his first year with the men’s program and is in his fourth year as the head coach of the women’s program. The women are having a wonderful season of their own with a 7-4-1 overall record and a conference record of 3-1-1. Whether it’s the men or the women, he just loves being around soccer.
“When I’m on the sideline, no matter which team I’m with, my heart is fully in at what I’m doing at that point and time,” said Christian. “I’m passionate about the game.
©2011 Community News Group
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