The Laurier women’s soccer team is on yet another roll this season with a perfect 10-0 record.
With only four games remaining in the regular season, this year has closely resembled the impressive success the girls experienced last year, going 11-1 during the regular season, winning the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) championship and coming one goal short of the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) championship, losing 1-0 in extra time against Queen’s.
The women’s team has been very successful in recent years, holding a winning record every year since 2007 and claiming the OUA title in both 2008 and 2010. However, the CIS title has continued to elude the team in this dynasty era of women’s soccer at Laurier, and the added pressure looms with each victory in the 2011 season.
Although undefeated this season, Head Coach Barry MacLean explains that each team in their division presents a problem, and no one should be taken lightly.
“Windsor is in second place so they will be a handful, they will certainly give us a tough time. Waterloo has improved and Mac and York continue to stay competitive,” MacLean said.
MacLean’s respect for the other teams has paid off on the pitch and he says that the squad’s focus and mentality along with bringing the same style of play to the field each week has contributed to the teams success.
“We’ve stayed pretty consistent throughout the entire season.”
When asked to compare his 2010 team to the 2011 team, MacLean admits that their current team is stronger. The team understands that they face a tough division, and an even tougher association, but he feels that a continued veteran presence along with the addition of a few key players has really helped the Golden Hawk girls remain at a level of excellence throughout the entirety of the season thus far.
“We are a stronger group than we were last year. We are definitely more balanced. We lost one starter, but we also brought in four very strong rookies, one of which is our leading goal scorer, and that has helped us.”
Both the aforementioned rookie Emily Brown, as well as third-year player Krista Celluci, have eight goals each on the season, tied for team best. These strong performances, as well as a solid defence, which includes five shutouts by fifth-year keeper Mallory Woeller, has helped a team that MacLean believes is a strong, balanced group of women.
However, the OUA and CIS titles do lurk in the near future and MacLean admits there are many strong teams that will likely be competing for the titles. He mentions opponents such as Montreal as tough competitors who will present plenty of trouble for the rest of the participants.
Laurier has already dealt with the competitive Montreal squad first hand, beating them 2-0 in the CIS semi-final in 2010, a game in which MacLean said was even more difficult than the final game against Queen’s. When asked who the favourite is on the CIS final weekend, MacLean explained that question is too hard to answer, with no team being the favourite.
“There are six or seven teams, especially teams out of the West, that could win on that weekend. Queens will definitely be a handful too, since they didn’t lose any players [from last years team].”
Still, MacLean is quick to say that his team is taking this journey one step at a time, with the next step being a battle against Waterloo Saturday, when the Golden Hawks will travel to Columbia Ice Fields to take on the Warriors. The Golden Hawks already defeated the Warriors 4-1 four weeks ago, and hope to sweep the season match-up in order to keep their perfect season intact.