2012 ACAC Women's Soccer Preview
by Curtis J. Phillips, ACAC Sports Writer
09/05/2012 – The upcoming 2012 Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference women’s soccer season has a similar theme as does the men’s side.
Gone from the program are the Mount Royal Cougars having shifted over to the Canadian Interuniversity Sports ranks. The Calgary school was a powerhouse on the pitch having won eight titles since 1992. As was the question posed in the men’s preview, we must repeat, “How will that shift the league balance?”
The NAIT Ooks women’s soccer team, as in the case of the men’s history, is next in line with four championship banners, including last year when they won 10 straight. The Ooks have also won back-to-back silver medals at the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association championships.
And finally the new kid on the block the Olds Broncos. Will they bring their A game from ACAC futsal and surprise teams in their inaugural ACAC appearance?
We talked to some coaches about the upcoming season which kicks off Saturday, September 8, 2012 with all 12 teams on the pitch.
Concordia Thunder coach Dean Cordeiro (left) agrees that NAIT are the preseason favoured.
“Certainly NAIT; last year’s champs and national silver medalists,” said Cordeiro. “They have been very strong the last few years and will likely be this year as well. I would like to think that we (Concordia) may also be considered a favorite. We have high expectations for our team and our goal is to be one of the top ACAC teams.”
To take his team, which finished last year with a 7-2-1 last year, back to the promised land (ACAC champs 2009 and 2010) Cordeiro will stick to a technical game.
“Our strength is our technical ability. We have a very talented team this season and our style of play is going to be a lot of passing, maintaining possession. We are going to be very aggressive going forward, attacking with numbers.
“We are excited to have two key players back in our line-up for this season after missing almost the entirety of last season due to injury. Shauntel Lengle was an ACAC All-Star two years in a row but ran into injury trouble in her third year. She is looking forward to rejoining the team this season at 100%.
“2011 top recruit Sheena Tracey also incurred an injury before the ACAC season even started but is in good form for this season. “Also fourth year defender Audrey Sydora was a stand-out last year and we will be looking to her as a leader on our back line. Erika Vecchio was our Rookie of the Year last year, second on the team in scoring with eight goals and leading the team in assists. With another year of experience under her belt, she should be dominant in the midfield.
“Lindsay Butler (Boland) was outstanding as our forward last year, second in the league in scoring, earning ACAC All-Star and ACAC All-Canadian awards, as well as being voted team MVP. She is back for another season, fully healthy, excited to play.”
Across town Ernie Cavaliere of the Grant MacEwan Griffins will look to his veterans this season.
“Our strength will be the experience that our veterans have and will be able to impart on the rookies. The success of our program is the ability to maintain consistency from year to year due to the expectations and pride that our players have.”
Key players for the Edmonton team include: Olivia Smallwood, midfield defence, fifth year, “ ball winning and distribution’: Marlea Moroz, defence, third year, “set plays and ball movement,”; Jenn Hamilton, forward, third year, “attacking at pace and hard work” and Maryse Beauregard, forward/midfield, third year, “strength on the ball and pace.”
Keyano Huskies have a new coach in Michael Hull. His goal is to improve on the Huskies winning formula which has only seen five regular season victories in 10 years.
""I do not look at the past. We start from scratch. My philosophy is to get and keep the girls in shape and if they are in shape they stay goal side. If we stay goal side and keep the game close, that means we are in the game. Every game starts 0-0 and from there you adjust your formation.
"Anytime I have ever coached the number one thing is for the players to have fun but you have to put in hard work. Many teams may think we are a walkover but if we stay in shape, we have the skill and ability to stay in and win soccer matches."
Huskies will be led by veteran April Weigelt.
In the South Division, Red Deer Queens head coach David Colley will also look to the veterans to lead the way.
“The quality of the returning veterans is a major plus for our side and these players will mentor the first years into becoming a complete squad. Some of these players are - Jesse Stewart, goal keeper, quality player with experience at the highest level; Amber Regnier, defence, knowledge of the game and experience is second to none, couple that with her exceptional ability and game reading skills and she is a great player and also Kayla Keenan, midfield, highly experienced player with great vision and ball skills.