The Dinos women's soccer team has a lot to live up to for the coming year.
Last year, despite finishing fourth and claming the last playoff spot in their conference, the team emerged as Canada West champions and received a trip to Edmonton for the nationals, where they lost in the bronze medal match 1-0 to the McGill University Martlets.
The ladies hit the pitch this season with a young offence, a solid defense, and minus all-star Tanya Swiatek, who went the entire Canada West playoffs without allowing a goal in regulation time. Swiatek has also dressed in 18 matches for the women's senior national team.
"Taryn you can't replace," admitted Dinos captain Erin Harris. "You play a bit differently. Maybe
we play a bit more defensively. Our goalies are good. They're
see WOMENïž´S SOCCER, page 31
young and they're good. We just have to have faith in them."
It seems rookie Courtney Hefferman has the starting job for now allowing only a single goal over the opening weekend.
On offense the Dinos are hoping for big things from returning forward Katie Blundell, who despite spending most of the season on the sideline with an injury, came back in time for the playoffs last year and played well. Katie's sister, fourth-year Shirley Blundell, will lead a young midfield. The Dinos are also looking for some leadership from fifth-year striker Stephanie Hoogveld.
On defense, the Dinos are solid with veteran fifth-years Harris and Renae Hunter.
"Our defense has been the same line for three years," said Harris. "We work well together. Our midfield, except for one player, is new. We have a very new attacking team. It's just going to take a while to work."
The Dinos have a bizarre schedule of five on the road to start the year, all seven home games in a row in the middle of the season, and another two on the road to finish. The first three weeks are going to be tough, with three two-game series, including two involving changing provinces.
But if the Dinos can get through the first few road weeks and make some hay during their massive home stand, they should be able to make the playoffs again this year.