Women’s Soccer preview
Confidence is high amongst players and coaches of the women’s soccer team as the they look to qualify for the CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport)?nationals. The benefit from a strong recruiting class and a number of returning veterans should prove the optimism to be well founded when they take the pitch on Friday’s season opener.
Seven new players will join this year’s squad, compared to the?16 new faces that were on the 2006 team, which finished fifth in Quebec with a 3-6-8 record. These include three highly touted rookies in Emily Hubbard, Gabrielle Guilbeault and Jennifer Duff. Forwards Hubbard and Duff, from Delta B.C. and Moncton, N.B. respectively, have been excellent strikers for their teams and will look to keep finding the back of the net for Concordia this year. Quebec native Guilbeault served as team captain of her Texas high school team and will contribute on defence.
Guiding the rookies will be a solid core group of veteran players. “We have [team captain and?Quebec Student Sport Federation all-star] Erica Geersten, who will be anchoring the defence, said head coach Jorge Sanchez. “I’ll also be looking for Karen Stewart who was rookie of the year last year to build on her success. Ali Burgess as well, she’s very versatile and can play a lot of positions.”
With no apparent pure goal scorers on the team, Sanchez is stressing game preparation and spreading the ball around on offence over concentrating on any single attacking player. “We are very strong defensively with our goaltending duo and our defensive corps. I think that as an offensive unit we have very strong players in the attacking front that can put the ball in the net.”
With a mediocre 2006 season in the rear-view mirror, Sanchez has focused on preparing his team as thoroughly as possible for this year’s campaign.
“We stressed the fitness level,” said Jorge Sanchez, “It is a very physically demanding season because of how compact and intense it is, we felt they needed to be ready to meet the demands of the schedule.”
The road to the nationals begins Sept. 14 against Trois-Rivi