Rebels women building the best team possible
Stefanie Lasuik, SPORTS & LIFESTYLE EDITOR
The defending Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference (MCAC) women’s soccer champions are set to hit the pitch for their first game Sept. 11. But many pieces of the puzzle have yet to be glued in place.
As of late August, the team’s roster wasn’t etched in stone. And it won’t be until head coach Doug Lawrie looks over his roster that he’ll formulate a plan.
Lawrie wants to examine the strengths and the weaknesses of his players so he can create an effective onfield strategy.
“I don’t like to force a system that we might not have the natural fit of players for,” he said.
This method of catering to the roster helped the team win the school’s first women’s soccer banner last year.
Strategy may be even more important this season considering Lawrie only has four returning players.
But Lawrie is accustomed to quick turnover. RRC’s one- and two-year academic programs make this the norm.
Lawrie’s biggest challenge is recruiting new players. He recently picked up a new goaltender, former women’s premier and first division player, Brittany Derkacz.
Derkacz’s skill and poise will allow the players in front of her to play boldly in defence and transition, Lawrie said.
However boldly the athletes play, they must do so with caution. Injury management will be especially important this year because the team’s numbers are down.
“The season is very intense,” said Lawrie. It spans from Sept. 11 to Oct. 23, leaving little time to play the 10 scheduled games while practising and training. The season culminates with a two-day championship playoff on Oct. 29 and 30.
Lawrie said he can’t realistically set his sights on the championship banner before the season has started and without seeing his and opposing teams’ rosters. But he has set a goal unrelated to trophies.
“My goal is always for the players to have an enjoyable experience as a varsity athlete,” said Lawrie.
In the meantime, the team will train like the defending champs they are. But Lawrie will continue to recruit new talent. Those interested in playing for the team can contact Shane Ray, RRC’s manager of athletics and recreation services, at 204-632-3030 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Rebels will take on Canadian Mennonite University on Sept. 11 at 1:30 p.m. at the Ralph Cantafio Soccer Complex. Their first home game of the season is set for Sept. 13 at Norm Konowalchuk field behind the Notre Dame Campus. The game will get underway at 6 p.m.