Second-year striker Jenelle Zapski has scored many goals in her career with the Huskies women’s soccer team but her first goal will always be her favourite moment.
“You’re so happy you almost feel like you want to cry,” she said. “I’m used to scoring but in this type of league it’s totally different — every goal is so important. You get this crazy feeling because everyone else is just as happy for you when you score.”
Zapski has been making a big impact on the soccer pitch this season. The second-year kinesiology student leads the team in points scored with six goals through 11 games.
With one game left to play in the regular season Zapski isn’t finished scoring yet. She hopes to improve upon her previous tally of eight goals in 2012.
“I would like to score ten goals this season,” Zapski said.
She also led the team in scoring for the 2012 season but is constantly trying to outdo herself.
“I’m not quite satisfied yet” she said, “I’m always wanting to do better.”
Zapski started playing soccer at the age of four and displayed a competitive nature early on. Since then she’s played for her high school and provincial team before coming to the University of Saskatchewan. Seeing those around her reach the upper echelon of the sport resonated with Zapski and encouraged her to do the same.
“You want to strive to be the best you can be and [playing for the Huskies] is the highest level you can get in Saskatoon,” she said.
Apart from scoring, Zapski loves the community and the feeling of support that comes with playing for the Huskies.
“Our team is like a second family,” she said.
The team suffered their first loss of the season to the Canada West top ranked University of Alberta Pandas on Oct. 5 but found out that same day that they had secured a playoff spot.
“It’s bittersweet,” she said. “We know what we have to improve on and look forward to playoffs now that we have that goal achieved. We played really well too, so it was a tough loss at the same time.”
Despite the loss, Zapski thinks the team has the potential to bounce back and beat their rivals when it really matters.
“Personally, I would like to see us win the Canada West conference and get to nationals,” she said.
Zapski attributes the success of the team this season to its depth of talented players. Even against strong opponents there are no holes to be exploited.
“Every spot on the field is so solid. Every position is really strong, there are no weak points,” she said.
With strong players at every turn, the team has garnered respect from coaches and teams across the country. The squad has been ranked as high as seventh in the country this season and the players are excited to have their talents recognized.
“We are definitely feeling confident,” Zapski said. “We are really excited to finish off the season. We’re heading into new territory where the team’s never been before.”
As the season winds down and each match has higher stakes, Zapski said she thinks the team will stand apart from the rest of the pack because of the intangibles.
“Everyone is really determined and we’re showing a lot of heart,” she said. “With the conference this year the teams are all so close it comes down to who wants it more. I think that we’ve definitely shown that and that’s why we’re winning.”
Photo: Jordan Dumba/Photo Editor