Last year may have ended with a national championship, but it started out poorly for the Dinos women's soccer team.
You may remember that the Dinos lost the first three games of the 1998 season on their way to a 4-6 season. This year, after one game, at least, they're off to a better beginning.
Last Sunday, the Dinos opened their season at home against the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns. Although play was inconsistent, the Dinos made off with a 2-0 victory.
"There were periods of good, solid play," noted coach Robin Slot. "But we struggled at times as well, which is expected the first time out."
Kelly Matheson, one of the Dinos' leaders last season, and on whom a great deal of pressure has been placed this year, scored both goals on setups by Katie Lee.
"The work rate was there from everyone," said Slot, hesitating to single out any members of the team as stars. "It's like that old cliché: you win as a team, you lose as a team."
The Dinos' struggles almost forced them to settle for a tie.
"Lethbridge had a chance to score just before we made it 2-0," said Slot. "They are by no means below everyone else. They have a lot of quality players. They have strong goalkeeping and speedy players."
The Dinos, at 1-0, now have the best record in the Canada West conference--deceptively. Lethbridge sits at the bottom with a 0-1 record, while British Columbia, Victoria, Saskatchewan and Alberta are all 1-1.
"Lethbridge is not an easy team," said Slot. "With the results from the other games last weekend, I think it'll be an interesting, competitive year."
Next weekend, the Dinos make the trip west to do battle with the UBC Thunderbirds and the UVic Vikings. With the standings looking the way they do, Slot isn't making any predictions.
"It's very difficult to say," he said. "If we play well, we can win both games. If we don't, we could come out with two losses."
Because the game against Lethbridge was only the season opener, Slot expects to get a better idea of where his team is at when they hit the coast.
"I'll get a good idea of how they're playing," said Slot. "Coming home with four points would be great, but six would be ideal.
"It's a very tight league--we have to take it as it comes."