It is amazing how fast the time flies by. Here we are just weeks away from the opening games of the AUS Soccer season. Preparation is under way for the Varsity Reds Ladies Soccer team to defend their regular season title and to take the next step to a nationals berth in November.
Looking back at last season for a moment, we need to applaud the effort put in by the ladies. The squad went 10-1-2 which as mentioned garnered them the regular season title. This in a year when they had to face adversity and change. Change happened early when Sami Jo Bell joined the team as the #1 goal keeper option. Her play was exemplary right up until her injury in a mid season game vs. Les Aigles Bleu of Universite d’Moncton. Rebecca Duda took over very admirably in the second half of the season and the team rallied around her until Bell returned in time for the playoffs. Other changes included new strikers stepping to the for front. Samantha Legacy was the team leader in scoring, but she was flanked by younger ladies like Lauren Cubbon and Eden Vanderlaan. The AUS championship was contested at the home of the Dalhousie Tigers, Wickwire Field in Halifax. The ladies enjoyed their bye to the semis on Friday, dispatched a game Acadia team on Semi final Saturday and fell short to the Memorial Seahawks on Sunday to come up just short of the AUS title.
AUS Coach of the Year.
The ladies great season didn’t go unnoticed by the other coaches around the AUS, who chose Jon Crossland as AUS Coach of the Year. The teams success’s have brought them to a huge opportunity this year. With many of their top players returning and a bumper crop of new recruits about to join the fold. With that in mind lets look at the possible starting line up and discuss the new additions and the roles they may play.
At keeper the coaching staff can have no doubt that a healthy Sami Jo Bell will hold down the fort on the back line. Her play until her injury was All Star quality and with a year of recovery behind her she should be ready to shoulder the load. Of course, should the unthinkable happen again, Rebecca Duda remains ready to fill the role.
The fullbacks will be led by returning stand out Laura McNicholas who was the heart and soul of the team last year. She will be flanked by the likes of Emma Quigley, Erin Bethune and Hayley Gates. The FullBack position is a strength for the VReds and will give the midfielders and strikers confidence to press forward without worry.
At midfield I believe this year a lot of the work will fall to two ladies. Lucy Parkin and Kayla Painter will be a big part of the success this team will have. If they can control play and open up lanes for their strikers the future will be very bright for the VReds.
Up front this team is deep with possible strikers. Lauren Cubbon to me seems the heir apparent to fill the roll that Sam Legacy leaves in the line up. Others that will be involved in scoring this year will be Eden Vanderlaan, Meggie Spicer, Hannah Vesterbeak and Amanda Kenny.
With the positive outcomes of last year the team has enjoyed a great recruiting year. The coaching staff have brought in 5 new faces to add to the team. These include Abby Sullivan, Striker from Orleans, Mass. USA., Emily Burton, Mid/Fullback from Halifax, NS, Charlotte Sampson, Midfielder from Vancouver, BC, Jelisa Joncas from Burlington, Ont, and Selina Fabbri, Fullback from Toronto, Ont.
This seasons edition of the Varsity Ladies Soccer Team has every opportunity to take the next step and play for a national title. I wish the players and coaching staff good luck thru the 2015 season.
I have been informed by a very reliable source that a few ladies won’t be returning this year. Sadly, Erin Bethune, Eden Vanderlaan, Emma Quigley and Hannah VesterBack won’t be back with the team this year. I wish all these ladies luck in whatever future endeavors they take up.