After nine starters graduated in May, Mount Allison women’s soccer team now hopes that youth will trump experience this season.
This year marks coach Gene Ouellette’s third season with the team. While there has been a lot of turnover, Ouellette hopes that everyone will fill their new roles well. Captains Myranda Weild, Claire Neufeld, Tessa Richie and Jane Rouse will be expected to lead the team.
The preseason proved that differences between the teams in the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) are marginal and that, with the right adjustments, the women’s team can push for a playoff spot.
After back-to-back losses to open the season, the women’s team won 2-0 against Saint Mary’s in Halifax. The win demonstrated the team’s potential to succeed this season. “It will be challenging, but we still strive to do so,” Ouellette said.
The Mounties are the underdogs this year and are “excited about it,” said second-year player Emily Poole.
“We have to focus [on] how we play as a team, how we work as a team. Outcomes will come from that.”
Last weekend, the Mounties secured their first win of the season, playing both Saint Mary’s and defending champions Cape Breton. Shaking off the nerves that come with season openers, the Mounties worked as a team and played a strong outing, Ouellette said.
The first half against Saint Mary’s went scoreless, showcasing a strong defensive performance by the Mounties. Richie kept the team in the game with impressive goalkeeping. In the second half, Katherine Ollerhead and Pascale Haidar both scored to secure a 2-0 Mounties victory, their first of the season.
Building on this win, the Mounties hosted Cape Breton at home. The cold and wet weather made for a tough match.
After a rainy first half, the Mounties found themselves down by one goal. The second half showed more of the same, with the Mounties falling short 3-0 to the defending champions.
The Mounties are better each time they step onto the field, building chemistry and narrowing the gap between them and other AUS teams with every week.
If the young roster steps up and raises its game, it is easy to see that the Mounties have not only the potential to make the playoffs, but a bright future as well.
The team is “headed in the right direction,” Weild said.