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Dog Watch: Jenelle Zapski

By in Sports & Health

Dog-Watch--Katherine-FedoroffWith her undeniable competitive spirit and get-the-job-done attitude, Huskies striker Jenelle Zapski is a force to be reckoned with on the soccer pitch.

The third-year kinesiology student said that her love of the sport is only matched by her love of competition.

“I really enjoy competing but especially winning,” Zapski said. ”I’ve just done it for so long and I enjoy it.”

As far as this season goes, Zapski’s talent and determination show her as leading not only her team, but also the Canada West conference in scoring. In the Dogs’ opening weekend in Manitoba, facing off against the University of Winnipeg Wesmen, Zapski recorded the team’s first goal of the season and followed up with a hat trick against the University of Manitoba Bisons. Unsurprisingly, Zapski’s performance earned her the conference’s first star for the week of Sept. 9, a step up from the 2nd star she received in the 2013 season.

Although the award is without a doubt a sign of Zapski’s knack for putting balls in the back of the net, she said it speaks just as much about the entire team’s work.

The first star is “kind of like a testament to our team as well because my role on the team is definitely to finish everyone else’s hard work,” Zapski said. “It’s nice to get recognized and it’s nice to get our team recognized. I think there’s a lot of players on the team that are doing well and I think as a whole we’re doing well. Just getting people to realize that we’re here and we want to make an impression on people, we want to surprise people.”

The following weekend on home turf, Zapski scored two more goals in a 4–0 victory against the University of Mount Royal Cougars on Sept. 13 but came up empty handed against the University of Alberta Pandas as the game resulted in a 0–0 draw.

Zapski said that there is a bit of pressure being the last player to face off with the opposing team’s goalie.

“I find I put a lot of pressure on myself. I enjoy that role, I enjoy scoring,” she said. “It’s all about playing for your teammates and doing it for them. The pressure that I put on myself sometimes is that I feel like everyone else works so hard to win the ball and to get it to me that I don’t want to mess it up, I want to make everyone proud and finish the task.”

Pressure and scoring aside, Zapski said she really loves it when everyone on the team is just out there to have fun.

“Once our team gets in the flow of things and everyone is feeling confident about each other, then it’s definitely easier to relax,” Zapski said. “When everyone’s just enjoying the game, enjoying the moment, having fun, that’s the best because there’s not just one person that our team can depend on and I think if everyone’s having a great game, that feels even better because all 18 players can make that difference out there.”

Zapski said that the team this year is made up of six or seven players, including herself, that have all played together since they were 10 years old.

“Our team has a very strong bond in that way,” Zapski said, later adding that the team’s strong relationships on and off the field have greatly benefitted their mentality heading into this season.

“We believe that we can win and I think that’s a huge thing,” she said. “When we go to training everyone is pushing each other as hard as they can and still staying positive, but pushing each other to improve, I think that’s huge.”

When asked what her goals for the season are, Zapski replied that she’s not making any goals this year and just wants to focus on having fun. However, when it comes to the team, she has her sights set high.

“Personally no, as a team I definitely believe that we can make it to nationals and compete and win,” she said. “Every game’s a challenge and it’ll be nice to prove to people that we deserve to compete at the highest level and ultimately win the conference and go from there.”

Photo: Katherine Fedoroff/Photo Editor

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