Women’s soccer ends season with high hopes
For the first time, the SAIT women’s soccer team took the south division title, and ended the season with their highest finish at the Alberta College Athletic Conference (ACAC) championship since the 2003/2004 season.
After a disappointing loss in the semi-finals against the Grande Prairie Regional College Wolves, the girls found themselves facing off against Concordia University of Edmonton Thunder for third place.
“We were all pretty pumped,” said midfielder, Mataya Blakney.
“It wasn’t quite the same intensity as the first [semi-final] game, we were all a little bit bummed as well.”
Blakney said her team may have been too relaxed going into the bronze medal match, because their chance to compete in nationals had been taken off the table.
Concordia took advantage of that and scored twice in the first half, and scored a third goal just minutes into the second half.
The Trojans earned goals from strikers, Cassey Bush and Cheyanne Holland, but it wasn’t enough to beat Concordia, who took the bronze medal game with a final score of 4-2.
“After the game everyone was pretty upset,” said Blakney.
She said she personally felt that she and her team could have done more, in terms of game preparation and their play on the field.
Taking home the division title, after going nine wins and only one loss in the regular season, was an incredible feeling for the women’s team, said Blakney.
“Especially because we had just played our best weekend ever, I think it was an amazing weekend to watch,” she said.
Blakney even compared the feeling of earning the division title to winning provincials.
In addition to the division title, four of the Trojan’s women soccer players were named to the South Division All-Conference Team and Head Coach John Talerico was named South Division Coach of the Year.
“I’m just really happy for John,” said Blakney.
“He puts in a lot of his own time into the program.”
She said Talerico was the first one to practice, and the last one to leave. He was always willing to do an extra session if the team wanted to and if a session was optional and only a few girls showed up, Talerico still loved it.
“He supports us 100 per cent,” said Blakney.
As she prepares for her final season with the SAIT soccer team, which will be the 2017/2018 season, Blakney said she is looking forward to watching the rookies grow and seeing what the team will be able to do next year.
“Each year we’ve just been getting better and better,” she said.
The goal for Blakney is to win the division title again, then provincials and then, hopefully, nationals, which she has never been to with any team she has played with.
Blakney said the team has been improving since the first day, progressing with each practice and game.
“I’m really proud of the girls for what they brought to the field every time we stepped on the field.”