The University of Saskatchewan Huskies women’s soccer team plans to kick their season off strong this year with a new lineup of players and some tricks in their back pocket.
The team had their first real test on Aug. 20 when they played the University of Winnipeg Wesmen in a preseason game. The game was largely one-sided, with the Huskies offense dominating the Wesman in the first half and continuing to keep the ball in the Wesmen’s half for large portions of the second. The game ended with a final score of 3-0 in favour of the Huskies.
Head coach Jerson Barandica-Hamilton commented on the team’s performance.
“[The game was] good. Preseason it’s more about the process than the actual result, but having said that, we still want to win and we still want to try [to] implement what we’ve been working on,” Barandica-Hamilton said.
Barandica-Hamilton broke down the team’s strengths and weaknesses for the upcoming season.
“Our attacking phase has been well. We’ve been working on that for the past seven days. I think you could tell our movement was sharp and dynamic,” Barandica-Hamilton said.
However, their game was not perfect, according to Barandica-Hamilton, who listed what the team will be working on to prepare for the upcoming season.
“As we progress into preseason, we’ll be looking now to build on the defensive side. Today we were a little bit shaky at times but that’s normal because we haven’t worked on that — just the transitions and really fine tuning the little details of our game,” Barandica-Hamilton said.
Barandica-Hamilton attributed some of the shakiness in the second half to the fact that team’s lineup has quite a few rookies. However, rookie left winger Maya Gabruch stood out during the game. Gabruch scored two of the Huskies’ three goals and shared how she intends to improve going into the regular season.
“What I want to work on is beating people down the line or taking people one-on-one, because I’m down the wing so that would really benefit us if we can get our speed up the line. Put some crosses and shots on net,” Gabruch said.
Gabruch is one of seven new players this year and is a first year kinesiology major. She was confident in her first game scenario with the Huskies and felt the team played well as a whole. Overall, Gabruch said the team has been very welcoming to her as a rookie.
With seven new players this year, the Huskies women’s soccer team will certainly be different from last season. Center midfielder and fifth-year education major Erica Hindmarsh compared this season’s roster to last year’s.
“I think we’re going be a really different team than we were last year. We have a lot of recruits that bring a lot of different aspects that we might not have had last year, so I think it’s hard to kind of compare just because the roles that everyone’s playing are a lot different than last year. So I think we should be really good,” Hindmarsh said.
Barandica-Hamilton shared how he felt taking this year’s squad into a game scenario for the first time this year.
“Off-season, it seems like it’s so long. We train, we put in the work [and] we work hard behind the scenes, then this is the fun part. As coaches, we love this and as players, you can tell they were enjoying themselves out there,” Barandica-Hamilton said.
Following the preseason game on Aug. 20, the Huskies played the Wesmen once again on Aug. 21, which resulted in a tie of 3-3. On Aug. 24, the team traveled to Calgary to compete in a preseason tournament.
Jack Thompson / Staff Writer
Photo: Ashley Britz