The University of Saskatchewan women’s soccer team started their season off during the Canada West opening weekend, where they won their first game against Winnipeg and lost to Manitoba in their second.
In their first game of the season, against the Winnipeg Wesmen, the Huskies took a 3-2 victory, a good start to the season despite losing their second game against the Manitoba Bisons 2-3 the next day. In their two games played on Sept. 16 and 17, the team came out with victories of 3-0 against the Thompson Rivers WolfPack and 5-0 against the Heat, of the University of British Columbia Okanagan campus.
Kyleigh Vause, a fifth-year education student and goalkeeper for the team, expresses her thoughts about opening weekend.
“Not our best start to the season, but we got a win on the road, which is super exciting for us, and there’s lots of room to grow from here,” Vause said.
The Huskies have a strong team this season with 30 total players, nine of whom are rookies. Midfielder Megan Ripplinger started out the opening weekend with three goals and two assists, which landed her U Sports Female Athlete of the Week for week two of the season.
The team is also strong in terms of veterans, with Vause as goalkeeper, who had seven saves on opening weekend. Striker Leesa Eggum and midfielder Rebecca Weckworth have also started the season out strong, with Eggum scoring two goals in the game against Thompson Rivers on Sept. 16 and Weckworth, who was Huskie Athlete of the Week in October 2016, with six shots on goal in the first few games of the season.
The team is coming off their most successful year, having finished third in Canada West and having competed in the national championship for the first time in history, so the morale on the team is up.
Jerson Barandica-Hamilton, head coach for the U of S women’s soccer team, speaks on the upcoming season.
“We’ve had a long and strenuous pre-season, but it’s been good. The girls are getting comfortable with each other, and we have a really strong senior group and a lot of young players, who are coming into our program and understanding what our standards and our style of play is… They’ve meshed really well, and we’re excited to see what the season has for us coming off our most successful season,” Barandica-Hamilton said.
The team has many strengths and is currently working on perfecting their weaknesses in practice. Barandica-Hamilton discusses the team’s strengths going into the season.
“We have lots of speed, lots of creativity and lots of different types of players, which adds depth to our team,” Barandica-Hamilton said. “If one thing or one quality is not working, we can always rely on a different player, or a second or third player, so we’re very unpredictable in terms of our style of play.”
Full-back Jacqueline Altrogge, a first-year health studies student, says the team’s greatest strength going into this season is the midfield.
“We have really good seniority in the midfield, and I think they’re definitely going to be a success,” Altrogge said.
With a total of 13 goals in their first four games, the Huskies’ women’s soccer team is looking good heading into the season. Their next games will be two home games: one on Sept. 23 against the Lethbridge Pronghorns and the other on Sept. 24 against the Calgary Dinos.
Lyndsay Afseth / Staff Writer
Photos: Emily Sutherland