The St. Thomas University soccer teams were young, but hopeful on Saturday during their season home openers against Mount Saint Vincent University.
Both teams took on MSVU in challenging games, and while the men came out with a tie, the women were able to take the win.
The women’s team is young with returning players making up only about half of their team. Head coach Michelle DeCourcey is hopeful they can help bring leadership to the team.
“We have eight new-to-STU rookies,” said DeCourcey. “Sarah Hickman, in her third year, is our most veteran player. We’ll be looking for leaders to step up.”
After starting from almost scratch last year, the women are hoping to pick up where they left off last season and continue to improve.
“Last season we did well defending as a team and working the ball up the field to a point just past the centre line,” said DeCourcey.
“Then, we struggled to connect our final passes and capitalize on opportunities in front of the goal.”
During their home opener they seemed to pick up right where they left off last season. The first half of the game was mainly played in STU’s end, but when they got the ball closer towards MSVU’s goal, defence worked to keep it out of the net.
The women’s defence did well, keeping the other team from scoring the entire game. Rookie Nikita McCartney was able to score two goals allowing STU to win 2-0.
The girls worked well together on the field and DeCourcey said the women are meshing as a team.
“They have a very positive vibe on and off the field and treat each other like family,” she said.
The men’s game was not as successful but it was hard fought. The rain began just as the game did, but that didn’t stop the team.
Kyle Yearwood scored in the first half off a penalty kick before the weather delayed the game.
Frustration was high in the second half after MSVU was able to score twice quickly in the second half, once off a penalty kick and again off a throw-in by STU. Rookie David Effiong scored to tie the game up quickly afterwards but STU was unable to score again to pull into the lead.
As such a young team with few returning players, head coach John-Ryan Morrison said the team hasn’t meshed well yet. He hopes he can rely on previous experience this year.
“We’re really hoping they can gel together quickly where it’s a short season for us,” said Morrison.
With 14 rookies this year, that may be a tough challenge, but Morrison said he is confident in his team and their abilities.
“We’re hoping we’ve learned lessons as a building team. Losing isn’t fun and hopefully we’ve worked hard enough as a team in the pre-season to take it to the next level.”