Eavis has come through as expected in her first season with MUN

Kenn Oliver
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AUS WOMEN'S SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIP

In a season where the Memorial University women's soccer side came up short of expectations, the team's rookie crease-keeper Keira Eavis met hers.

"In her first season, she was exactly (the player) we thought we were getting," Lady Hawks' coach Walt Mavin says of the 5'11" netminder from Conception Bay South.

Memorial Sea-Hawks' rookie goalkeeper Keira Eavis. - Photo by Kenn Oliver/The Telegram

In a season where the Memorial University women's soccer side came up short of expectations, the team's rookie crease-keeper Keira Eavis met hers.

"In her first season, she was exactly (the player) we thought we were getting," Lady Hawks' coach Walt Mavin says of the 5'11" netminder from Conception Bay South.

"The score line may not show the performance of your goalkeeper, but there were numerous games where she made quality saves at critical points to keep us in the contest."

It hasn't been perfect, but Mavin says that's par for the course as a rookie in Atlantic University Sport competition.

"As with any goalkeeper, there's probably a couple of moments in the season she'd like to take back, but that's not just in her position, that goes for the whole team. It's part of learning to play in this league. You take your lumps, move on and look to gain from the experiences."

The Sea-Hawks will look for that gained experience to pay off today as they take on the University of Cape Breton Capers in their AUS quarter-final game on the new FieldTurf facility at the Smallwood complex in Mount Pearl (6:15 p.m.).

Eavis had some big shoes to fill following the departure of five-year veteran Janine Bursey, who earned second-team all-star AUS honours in 2008 after giving up just five goals in 10 games while recording six shutouts.

Those statistics are not lost on Eavis.

"Having to follow up the record (Bursey) had last year, one of the best ever for women's soccer at MUN, it was a bit stressful," admits the 18-year-old, who says the support of teammates, veterans and rookies, helped keep her positive in the early going.

Eavis, who started every game for MUN this season ahead of fellow rookie Laura Pittman, allowed 19 goals in total. In Bursey's first few seasons as a Lady Hawk, her numbers weren't much different as she began to grow into an all-star calibre keeper.

Mavin envisions the same for Eavis as she learns the AUS game.

"I can only see Keira, through the experience she's going to gain, get stronger and stronger from a physical and from a mental capacity in a critical role," he said.

And Eavis, who gained considerable experience as the starting goalie for the province's Canada Games female team this summer in P.E.I., is trying her best to see things the same way.

"From (the Games) until now, I find myself growing a lot more and learning every game. Over a five-year period, I can already see how much I'll be able to learn."

Mavin expects to see the same level of focus in the AUS championship tournament.

"She's shown all year that she's quite capable of remaining focused and calm," said Mavin.

Still, this will be Eavis's first AUS playoff game, at home no less, so Eavis is justifiably nervous.

"I definitely makes me feel better being on home turf, but then again, there's a lot to worry about. There's two sides to it."

The Lady Hawks need a win today against the third-seeded Capers in order to advance to a Saturday semifinal, where their opponent would be the top-seeded Dalhousie Tigers.

koliver@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Atlantic University Sport, Sea-Hawks, University of Cape Breton Capers FieldTurf Smallwood

Geographic location: Mount Pearl

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