Undefeated first half for Trojans soccer: Teams look to go for gold at home later this month
Just over halfway through the season, SAIT Trojans soccer is off to a roaring start.
After the games on Sept. 30, the men’s and women’s teams were both undefeated at 7-0, placing them both first in their Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) divisions.
Last season, both teams finished first in their division, but lost in the semifinals; the women finished in fourth place, while the men won bronze.
But this year, each team member has brought in something new and special to the program.
According to women’s midfielder Mataya Blakney, the program has “definitely improved” over last year.
“The biggest reason for their success this season is the team has skilled and experienced players and can rely on each other”.
Blakney added that “this year’s team has the best chance to go to nationals and bring home a banner for the school.”
According to head coach John Talerico, “the girls are more determined to win” this year.
He said that this year’s training camp “went really well”, helping their hot start.
Among the newcomers, Talerico singled out midfielders Blakney and Maddie Lee, whose previous university experience have helped the team immensely, he said.
Talerico also praised the team’s rookies.
“This year we’re a little more complete, [with] more depth.”
Blakney was especially pleased after a big 5-0 victory over the Olds College Broncos on Sept. 21, that put the Trojans at 5-0 on the season.
The Trojans women started off slow in the first half, but scored four goals in the second half.
“Olds is our biggest competitor [this] season, so I feel really good about this victory,” said Blakney.
This year’s men’s team, also 7-0 as of Sept. 30, has focus and one common goal.
Everyone on the team has bought into the program and has a great mentality going into every game, helping the team come out on top.
The team must always be ready and switched on whenever they are on the field.
“The toughest competition is ourselves,” said midfielder Jake Walmsley, reflecting after a 5-3 victory over the Olds College Broncos on Sept. 21.
In practice, the team is learning to score early in the game, but also to finish games strong.
Like the women’s team, new blood on the team has kept the team fresh.
“This year’s team has a mixture of veterans and rookies who are all eager to challenge for a spot, which puts everyone on their toes,” said Walmsley.
HOME-FIELD ADVANTAGE IN PLAYOFFS
Each team has five regular-season games left in October. Their final home games are on Oct. 20 against Ambrose College.
The Trojans will have home-field advantage in the playoffs this year, as both ACAC soccer championships are being held at Cohos Common Field from Oct. 26-28.