Nathan Crosby, Sports Editor Ω
Faraway, so close; the women’s soccer team went on a great ride despite coming up short at nationals.
It was such a memorable year for the ‘Pack; expectations were lower given injuries, a rookie goal keeper and playing in a tough division.
Yet they continued to dominate, going on a tear that included a 14-game unbeaten streak that was snapped against FX Garneau at nationals.
From Sept. 10 to Nov. 11, the women couldn’t be beaten.
That’s why it’s hard to think that the team finally met their match when losing to FX Garneau and subsequently to Ahuntsic in the bronze medal game in Quebec City.
Sometimes things can be going so right that it boggles the mind when things go wrong.
I remember talking to head coach Tom McManus on Sept. 8 at one of their first practices.
We sat in the top row of the Hillside Stadium stands and it was about 100 degrees outside.
Me being a ginger, I had to speak with Tom in the shade for fear of being turned into the guy whose skin melts in Indiana Jones.
The team was practicing in the heat and even they knew not to get too comfortable with the warm weather. (The bronze medal game in Quebec City was played in the snow.)
McManus watched his players and said it was going to be a season of growing and learning.
I think by October he was singing a different tune.
From the start of the year to the end of the PACWEST final, the ’Pack outscored their opponents 26-14 and goals were coming in from everyone.
Amanda Barrett, Jaydene Radu and Alanna Bekkering gave TRU depth and balance on offense.
Veteran midfielder, Ashley Piggot, or “Velcro foot” as coach McManus calls her, scored four goals in 11 games and was named to the all-star team at nationals. McManus said the ball never left foot when it got to her, as if it was attached.
The coach will have a new challenge next year trying to replace that foot.
This team is built to last for a while in order to continue to be competitive.
Rookie keeper Emily Edmundson had the fourth-best goals against average in the PACWEST with 1.06 and had two shutouts. You will also see forward Katie Sparrow’s name on the roster of the future.
Losing sucks, but the women’s soccer team gave it their best.
Down 3-0 in the bronze medal game, the ‘Pack were minutes from losing but didn’t stop fighting.
The pace didn’t slow and no one gave in until the final whistle. They nearly scored with 40 seconds left.
To the women’s soccer team, on behalf of all TRU students, thanks for making us proud and representing our school to the rest of the nation.