Three consecutive playoff appearances for a team is usually considered a successful streak, but three consecutive first-round exits leads to disappointment and leaves everyone involved looking for more.
That sentiment describes the women’s soccer team at Concordia, but the road to a fourth straight playoff appearance is an uphill battle, or so it seems.
The Stingers have only nine returning players of their roster of 25, and expect two or three of the 14 rookies to step directly in the starting lineup.
The mainstay of the Stingers over her career is midfielder and captain Melanie Poirier. Last year, she was a second-team All-Canadian and took home the Sally Kemp Award as Concordia’s female athlete of the year. Among key veterans returning with Poirier are defender Erica Geertsen and forward Julie Pawlusiak. Head coach Jorge Sanchez said that he is looking for Pawlusiak to make some noise offensively.
“If you look at the players that we lost last year, you won’t see any top scorers but when you add up the numbers we are down 10-12 goals,” Sanchez said. “I’m looking for Julie and others to pick up the slack,” he continued.
The rookies that are expected to make some noise this season include key recruits Olivia Dunbar and goaltender Jessie Davis, who is expected to backup returning starter Melissa Morgan. Other key rookies are Ali Burgess and Catherine Allen, a top recruit from a year ago who missed the entire season after a knee injury.
Poirier, the team’s captain, sa that the team’s start, especially with so many newcomers, is important.
“We have to show the rookies the way right from the start,” she said. “With such a short schedule, you have to understand the importance of being ready from the first game,” she continued.
“There is a lot of potential, hope and it’s exciting,” Poirier said about starting the season. “There might be a lot of rookies, but all of them have played at a high level, and that helps the veterans too because it brings out the intensity even in practice,” Poirier said.
In the past, the Stingers were a team that focused on defensive play, but this year the team is looking at opening up a little bit offensively.
“Any team I coach is going to be strong defensively and stress defense,” Sanchez said. “But this year we are trying to be more offensive with our play,” he said.
The team played seven pre-season games to date starting with the annual Concordia Challenge against teams from Canada and the United States, including Division I Wisconsin, a game that finished in a 2-2 tie. The team has two more pre-season games before their season opener on Sept. 15 at Bishop’s: Sept. 7 against the FC Selects and Sept. 13 against Algonquin College. Both games will be played at Concordia.
QSSF Soccer Schedule Women
09/22 vs Montreal
09/24 vs McGill
09/29 @ UQAM
10/01 vs UQTR
10/07 @ Laval
10/09 vs Laval
10/13 vs Sherbrooke
10/15 vs Bishop’s
10/20 @ Montreal
10/22 @ McGill
10/27 @ UQTR
10/29 vs UQAM