It’s October, and fall sports are finally starting to get underway at Canisius. Unfortunately, the football and volleyball seasons have been delayed until the spring due to the pandemic, but the other four sports are alive and well. Despite some aspects of the season being affected by COVID-19 guidelines, the Crusaders still look to make an impact in the new season.
The soccer team is certainly heading in a good direction. After going 10-7-1 last season, they have a brigade of returning players. Owen Jerge ‘21 is the team’s go-to scorer while Ryan Adams ‘21 and Josh Harbison ‘21 lead the midfielders. On defense, Jay Granto ‘21 and Rehn Pielechowski ‘21 are a strong line of defense in front of Cody Franklin ‘22 in net. Returning juniors Victor Mazzara ‘22, Dante Cotroneo ‘22, Sean Lieberman ‘22, and Ermyes Aman ‘22 will also make an impact along with Wisken Whited ‘21, who doubles as a speedy wide receiver on the football team.
Unfortunately, the season is shorter than last year. With the addition of some tough non-league games against McQuaid and Lancaster, the squad has thirteen matchups. According to Coach Chris Stuff, the Crusaders should compete in some thrilling contests with St. Joe’s and Nichols while working toward the Monsignor Martin championship. To account for the late start time, the playoffs should take place around the second half of November. In most years, the winner of the league would get a chance to compete in the NYS Catholic playoffs, but the end goal is the Monsignor Martin trophy this year.
Most importantly, the team has procedures in place to try to keep everybody safe. Before games and practices, players’ temperatures are monitored. These tests occur at school during school days while coaches administer them on weekends. Additionally, masks are worn by everyone on the sideline. Players are also advised to wear them on the field until they are no longer tolerable due to soccer’s constant running and cardiovascular activity. Everyone surrounding the game has a role in securing the safety of the players, as ball boys use gloves when handling balls and coaches apply sanitizing spray to equipment after practices.
With all of the confusion and distractions surrounding this season, Coach Stuff notes that it is important for his team to stay focused and cohesive. If they are able to work as a team, the Crusaders can go far this season.
The golf team has kicked off their shortened season, currently possessing a 2-0 record. Returners Alex Bakshi ‘21, Steven Bleck ‘22, Finn Bluemle ‘21, Ryan Coyne ‘21, and Will Scherrer ‘21 look to repeat last season with another undefeated campaign in 2020. Fortunately for the golfers, their sport isn’t affected very much by the state guidelines. Masks can be taken off before the first tee and don’t have to be worn for the rest of the round. The squad can easily socially distance and doesn’t have to worry about being in close contact with opponents. Hopefully, the season can run smoothly and the team can compete in all ten matches and All-Catholics. The NYS Championships may be even more secure than the regular season, as they occur in the spring.
The cross country team looks to defend their All-Catholic title this season. The loss of Lucas Beyer ‘20 to Boston College is big, but Noah Rockensuess ‘21, Ethan Beck ‘21, and Eli Noecker ‘23 are well-equipped to fill his shoes. The squad will be limited to a few dual matches and All-Catholics this year with the NYS Championships, Nike Cross Regional Tournament, and other invitational tournaments being cancelled. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, the players wear masks during warmups and downtime, only taking them off while running.
Rowers received the short end of the stick for their season. All races have been cancelled, except a few local scrimmages against programs like St. Joe’s. In addition, the team only has until about the end of October until the water becomes too cold. Unlike the other fall sports, Crew also competes in the spring, so they still have a chance for a complete second half of their season. Currently, rowers must wear masks when in the weight room and on the dock but can take them off while on the water. Temperature checks are also administered before every practice.
While many of these safety guidelines are nuisances, they are necessary in order to hinder the spread of the virus. Players are still excited to compete in their respective sports, treating these hectic seasons as normal. Canisius sports may have been dormant for the last few months, but more success is on the horizon.
**Special thanks to Coach Stuff, Finn Bluemle ‘21, Noah Rockensuess ‘21, and Andrew Skakal ‘21 for providing information about their sports