Promising Griffs slow out of the gate

By: Aaron Rispoli

Assistant Sports Editor

The sun beats down onto Demske field during a warm summer practice. The Canisius

soccer team toils away under the watchful eye of Coach Dermot McGrane who is entering into

his fifth year as head coach at Canisius. The Italian import, senior midfielder Nicoló Baudo,

takes a touch and strikes for net, his shot on goal parried away by the impenetrable goalkeeper

Andrew Coughlin. The Genovese bellows out a few choice words in both English and Italian.

His coach follows suit, incensed, and quite rogue. After another rotation, Baudo receives his

chance at redemption. “Have a go,” implored McGrane. One touch placed ever so delicately

sends the ball into the top left corner of the net. Bellissimo, stupendo, magnifico. The Griffs

would love to see more goals like that in the 2015 campaign.

After beating New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) 1-0 in their home opener at

Demske field, the Griffs have since loss three straight to start the 2015 season. “The biggest thing

for us right now is to capitalize on all the chances that we’ve had. We can’t keep missing open

goals and expect to win games,” said McGrane. The Griffs have not had trouble creating chances

as they have averaged 14.75 shots per game–the second-highest total in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference behind Siena

with 16.50 shots per game. The Griffs seem to be lacking the impetus that will propel the team to

the next level, only scoring three goals in four games, all from penalties.

Perhaps the team is having difficulties adjusting to the loss of their star forward, Asani

Samuels, who has since made the move to professional soccer. Trying to fill the void left by

Samuels will be sophomore forward Mathew Santos, who has moved into a starting role with the

Griffs and believes that they have the pieces to contend this season. “Asani (Samuels) was a big

loss. He was a big presence in the box. His speed also made him very dangerous. But we’re still a

very strong team and we have a lot of players who can contribute this season,” Santos said.

Although this team is comprised of a few new faces, the core of the team remains the

same. The Griffs are led by a triumvirate of senior captains: defensemen Ryan Schroen and Alex

De Carolis along with the starting goalkeeper, Andrew Coughlin. A strong back line remains the

strength for Canisius this season, which their MAAC and subsequently their NCAA tournament

aspirations are contingent on. The Griff’s defensive prowess comes as no surprise, however. The

2014 squad only conceded 16 goals in 18 games and they return much of the same defense. For

Schroen, it all starts in the back with the keeper. “It’s amazing having Coughlin,” Schroen said

with the glee of a proud teammate. “Having a good goalkeeper is something I’ve always loved. It

gives us a lot of confidence and a lot of security in the back. Coughlin is doing amazing and it’s

awesome to have him playing for us.” The Baldwinsvile, NY native gave up less than one goal

per game last season, while sporting an .805 save percentage. This season, Coughlin’s efforts

have been blighted by the lack of goal support. Despite matching his career high in saves over

the weekend, the Griffs fell to San Francisco and Saint Mary’s by a score of 2-0 and 1-0,

respectively. “Talent wise, this is one of the best teams I’ve ever played for,” Coughlin

commented. “It’s a little frustrating not getting the goals we need but it’s still early and we’re still

all getting on the same page. It’s tough when you’re not playing with all 11 guys due to injuries

but we’re making the necessary adjustments and we’ll be ready.”

For now, the Griffs return to action today against Bryant, a

team they beat last season in overtime by a score of 3-2. The third goal, the deadly dagger in the

103rd minute by no other than Nicoló Baudo. Bellissimo, stupendo, magnifico.

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