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Emilie Medland-Marchen

After hot start, Dinos women’s soccer team chases perfection

By Dianna Chan, September 20 2016 —

On a chilly September morning, the Dinos women’s soccer team is hard at work on the fields behind the Olympic Oval. Running through drill after drill, the players bob up and down the field, soccer balls dancing between their cleats. Teammates swerve in and out of one another, their coaches and the cones, never once losing their balance or the ball. It looks like chaos, but there’s a method to the madness.

This year, the Dinos women’s soccer team is chasing perfection. The team currently has a 6–0 record, which they’ve maintained throughout the early season in an impressive winning streak. A quick look at the team’s results show them barreling through the Canada West — a 10–0 win against the University of Winnipeg, 4–0 against Mount Royal University in the Crowchild Classic and 10–0 over Thompson Rivers University. Anyone can see that the Dinos women’s soccer team is on a roll. The question now is how long that can last.

This season, last year’s Canada West bronze medallists have their eyes on the ultimate prize in varsity soccer — the 2016 national championships. In order to make it there, the women’s team needs to count on maintaining their winning streak, building their confidence and establishing themselves as a major threat in the league.

As the first coach in 10 years to bring the women’s soccer team to the CIS championships, head coach Troye Flannery is determined to lead the Dinos to the final round of nationals this season.


Emilie Medland-Marchen

“When I was hired I said we would go to nationals in year four, [and] we did it in year three,” Flannery said. “It’s tough, but that is always going to be the goal from here on out. My intent is to take this program and make us a perennial powerhouse. We aren’t there yet, but we are going in the right direction.”

Last season, after winning the bronze medal match of the Canada West women’s soccer select six, the women’s team showed that they were a force to be reckoned with, downing their opponents in a tight 1–0 showdown. The match secured a spot in the CIS championships for the Dinos in their first appearance since 2005. It was only the third national trip in the program’s history.

But earning a position among Canada’s best was just the start — the Dinos were determined to bring home the Gladys Bean Memorial trophy for the first time. But despite their efforts to secure a top three spot, the Dinos quickly suffered a heartbreaking loss to the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds, taking them out of the running for the semifinal matchup.

Although they held out against the Thunderbirds for most of the contest, the Thunderbirds put the Dinos away in the fourth and final quarterfinal match. It was a tough loss for the team, especially after such a storied season. But for Flannery, it was the beginning of more success to come.

“It’s a great conference, [and] there’s a reason why teams that represent Canada West at nationals do very well,” Flannery said. “On any given day anybody can beat anybody in this league with the exception of one or two programs.”

With the achievements of the previous season, the women’s soccer team is  determined to improve on the success they obtained last year. Even though they lost some key veteran players, the new recruitment class has not only shown great potential but has helped continue the growth of the program. Flannery has no doubts that the new additions to the team will only help them further throughout the season.


Emilie Medland-Marchen

“Generally, the first-year players are more keen to impress,” Flannery said. “It gives us the youthful energy. We’ve got a good balance between the young and old right now.”

The Dinos team morale is stronger than ever, but they still have their work cut out for them in taking on the highly competitive Canada West. Fully prepared for the harsh struggle of obtaining a position in the conference, the team has undergone strict training. Fourth-year midfielder Maddie Lee knows well what Flannery expects from the team.

“Troye is one of those coaches where he always demands more [out] of us,” she said. “Our practices are always super high tempo — it’s go, go, go, 100 per cent.”

That high tempo is plain to see, even at an early season practice. After running through sets of drills, the team takes to the field to start a game of their own. There’s little rest as the women chase each other down, battling for the ball with a determination that shows a will to win.

The team’s dedication has not gone unnoticed as they continue to rack up a string of consecutive wins. But this is just the start of the uphill battle the team will have to face if they intend to win the Canada West — and later, nationals. Lee, now a team veteran recognizes that challenge.

“Canada West is a really hard conference to play in and this season is really short,” she said. “If you lose [one] game you never really know what’s going to happen.”

The Dinos will continue the remainder of the regular season alternating between home and away weekends. In the coming weeks the team will be on the road, with matches in Saskatoon, Regina and Lethbridge. On Oct. 9 they return to Calgary, where they’ll take on the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns before their last few games of the Canada West conference.

It’s a tough road ahead of the team, but based on the success that they’ve had so far, a spot in the CIS championships isn’t far off on the horizon.

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