Nathan Crosby, Sports Editor Ω
The WolfPack women’s soccer team used the 33 degree weather on Thursday to practice for the regular season — a season that began with a loss to the Kwantlen Eagles 2-1 and a 3-3 draw with the Douglas Royals over the weekend.
The final practice before the regular season happened on the scorching hot afternoon of Sept. 8, with the women scrimmaging at Hillside Stadium.
Head Coach Tom McManus said the biggest improvement made from last year’s team is the emphasis he’s placing on more scoring.
“Last year, [goal scoring] was our biggest downfall. We were possessing very well, knocking the ball down and we out possessed everybody, but we got to certain areas and just didn’t shoot and that’s what I’m looking for this year.”
The injury bug has also hit the team forcing McManus to make adjustments.
He said most of the injuries happened to players during their summer play leading up to the regular season.
First team all-star and second-year defender Sarah Gomes suffered a concussion on September 3 against the University of Fraser Valley Cascades and did not play the follow weekend against the Douglas Royals or the Kwantlen Eagles. First-year Madison Wells also sat on the sideline.
McManus added that although adjustments to the roster had to be made, the team played hard and disciplined in the pre-season.
The team went 0-4-1 in pre-season play against CIS and NCAA Division II programs. In 2010, the WolfPack women tied Douglas on the road and won at home to win the season series. The team lost both matches to the Kwantlen Eagles. They went on to finish third in the BCAA “A” division with three wins, three draws and six losses.
Captain Abbey McAuley said the team is finding chemistry despite injuries and other setbacks.
“The girls that came in came with team spirit and we’ve really been gelling together, and if they weren’t at first they are now. Everybody seems to be on the same page,” she said.
“We definitely lost a lot of talent with the graduating players and the players that didn’t come back, but I feel the rookies came in and knew the shoes that had to be filled beforehand. I feel the talent we’ve got is great, especially for how young our team is this year. We’ve all come in with good heads on our shoulders.”
The WolfPack have one game scheduled for the coming weekend when they’ll visit the UBCO Heat on Sept. 18.
They won’t return to Hillside Stadium until Sept. 24 for their home opener against UBCO Heat. The game will be highlighted by the players wearing pink T-shirts during warm-ups for the CIBC Run for the Cure and Breast Cancer Research, which will be available for purchase with partial proceeds going to the charity.