Making up for lost time, Reggie Faucher scored a brace Saturday to help the East Central College soccer Falcons open the season with a 4-0 home win over the Missouri Baptist University Junior Varsity team.
Faucher, a sophomore from Flanigan High School in Lauderdale Lakes, Fla., played in his first match with the Falcons since 2008 and made it pay off in a big way with two goals.
“For a guy who hasn’t played in a competitive game for a while, he really took advantage of his opportunity to play,” ECC Head Coach Kean Barclay said.
Faucher’s first goal came on a run to the end line. He ripped a shot which the goalkeeper couldn’t hold. The deflection went in.
The other goal came soon after on a long, hard shot to the left side of the net.
All four goals came in the first half and Faucher’s markers were sandwiched between the first and last.
Freshman Dylan Cassidy (Lucan, Dublin, Ireland) scored the first goal of the season on a header following a corner kick.
The final goal came on a long shot by sophomore midfielder Steven Smith (Colaiste Phadraig, Dublin, Ireland). Smith also earned an assist on the game’s first goal with his corner kick.
“Getting four goals from three different guys is good,” Barclay said. “It just shows that we’re not going to be quite as dependent on one or two guys like we were last year. That doesn’t take anything away from their quality. But now, the offensive has spread, which is a really good thing.”
The offensive output was even more impressive considering the team’s top returning scorer, Vadim Cojocov (Beneavin, Dublin, Ireland) is back in Ireland at the moment. Barclay expects him to be back by Sunday’s game against MCC-Maple Woods.
“To score four goals with Vadim not even being on the field makes me feel good about our depth,” said Barclay. “The competition is pretty intense and we’ve got a number of guys who can contribute offensively. Having trouble picking who is going to be on the team sheet is a good thing for me.”
Defensively, ECC recorded a shutout for sophomore netminder Andrew Hammerlinck (Pleasant Plains, Springfield, Ill., Southwestern Illinois College). He was forced to make some early saves, but the defense kept the Spartans from threatening the goal later.
Freshman center back AJ Bannister (Baxter, Kidderminster, England) anchored the back line and wore the captain’s armband.
“From having a center back be the captain last year to having a center back be the captain this year is a good thing,” Barclay said. “Devin Arand was first-team all-region and academic All-American and left some big shoes to fill, but I think AJ stepped in. The guys really listen to him. He’s got great leadership. On and off the field, he’s got good character and the guys are going to follow him. That’s going to take us in a good direction.”
Overall, the Falcons were able to control possession during the contest, working the ball around. Barclay was able to work in much of the roster throughout the game without much letdown.
“It’s a good way to start the season, to have all of the guys get a good run-out,” Barclay said. “I think they worked well together. We’re starting to see the chemistry coming together. Preseason played its part so we ironed out a few kinks. The guys are feeling good now and I think we can get a good run going. The talent is deep. We’ve got a lot of guys who can contribute in a number of ways. Everyone brings something different and something special. That makes the competition for positions really tough.”
Another positive which didn’t show in the stats was the fact that ECC had perfect discipline. Last year, the Falcons collected multiple cards in most matches, but ECC showed more gentlemanly play this time and nobody was booked.
“This year will be different,” Barclay said. “I think we’re a lot more disciplined. The guys understand how that came back to bite us at the end of the year because of all of the cards from last season. That’s one thing we’re working to eliminate this season.”
The Falcons are back in action Wednesday at Danville, Ill., with a 4 p.m. start.
ECC returns to host MCC-Maple Woods Sunday at 3 p.m.