Challenge Cups leading goal scorer New Brunswick bound; wants a piece of St. Lawrence first
By Darcy MacRae
Jon Hawco starts a new chapter of his life next week, but the Holy Cross striker has some unfinished business to attend to first this weekend in St. Lawrence.
Hawco, who led Challenge Cup soccer in scoring during the regular season with 18 goals, starts classes at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton Tuesday. Hell suit up for the schools soccer team as well, having already been guaranteed a starting spot on the team. In fact, Hawco recently made a trip to Fredericton to practise with his new teammates and is eager to start the Atlantic universities soccer season next weekend when UNB hosts provincial rivals Mount Allison and the University of Moncton.
However, before the 21-year-old leaves for the mainland, he hopes to lead Holy Cross to a Challenge Cup championship during the Final Four weekend in St. Lawrence. Holy Cross, the third-place finisher with a 10-10-4 record, starts the tournament this afternoon with a game against fourth place Feildians.
Although Holy Cross would have to win two games just to get to the final, Hawco said the team is confident they can win the league championship this weekend.
You dont go into the final weekend not expecting to get into the final, Hawco said. If you go there expecting to lose, you may as well not play soccer.
Now in his third season of Challenge Cup play, Hawco already has a well-earned reputation as a natural goal scorer. However, this year hes also become known as a player who has shown improved maturity both on and off the soccer pitch, a theory supported by Holy Cross head coach Bernard Fox Reddy.
I think the fact hes decided to go to university this year shows that, Reddy said.
With added maturity comes added responsibility, a fact Hawco does not shy away from. He recognizes that if Holy Cross is to fare well at the Final Four weekend hell need to be at his best. However, he disputes the notion Holy Cross will only go as far as he can take them and adds his teammates dont expect him to carry the team on his shoulders.
I dont believe that and they dont put that kind of pressure on me to do that, said Hawco. If the opportunity comes, they expect me to score, but they dont put pressure on me to do it all.
Hawco said Holy Cross has to play as a team to have any chance this weekend, especially if they eventually cross paths with St. Lawrence, who finished the regular season with 20 wins, no losses and four ties.
Theyre beatable, Hawco said of the Laurentians. We had a couple of tough games with them and even though theyre a great team, they can be beaten.
One fact working in Holy Crosss favour, according to Hawco, is that the Final Four weekend is in St. Lawrence. He said the pressure on the home team will be nothing short of monumental while clubs like his can fly under the radar.
Down there, with St. Lawrence being (two-time) defending champs, anything less than another championship will be a total loss, so theres definitely more pressure on them, he said.
Nobody expects us to win, but were going there thinking we can win. Win or lose this weekend, Hawco will leave the pitch and head directly for Fredericton. After practicing and taking part in off-field training sessions with his new teammates for up to six hours a day last week, Hawco simply cant wait to start the AUS soccer season. In particular, hes looking forward to developing rivalries with teams and players he hasnt lined up against before. New rivalries create new challenges, new goals, Hawco said. After playing against the same players for three years, itll be fun to face new players. One game Hawco is eagerly anticipating is UNBs Sept. 22 home game against the Memorial Sea-Hawks. Ive already got the game against MUN marked on my calendar, Hawco said. A lot of my Holy Cross teammates play for MUN, so it should be a lot fun. Those guys are my friends, but when it comes to the game, Im going to do everything I can to win. Hawco leads Holy Cross against Feildians today at 2:30 p.m. With a win, Holy Cross would advance to Saturdays semifinal against the loser of tonights Mount Pearl-St. Lawrence matchup. firstname.lastname@example.org