Split of last two regular-season games should do the trick
The Memorial Sea-Hawks women’s soccer team hold its playoff fate in its own hands, and that’s fine with coach Walt Mavin.
“It’s within our control,” said Mavin about his fifth-place team.. “At this point, we don’t have to look around and hope that someone else beats someone else for us to get in.
“We’re two points up on UPEI (Panthers) and four on UNB (Varsity Reds). If we split this weekend, we’ll be fine.”
The top five finishers in the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) standings make the six-team playoffs, while the ninth-place Mount Allison Mounties, who are hosting the championship tournament, get an automatic playoff berth.
Memorial (5-3-3, 18 points) finishes the AUS regular season schedule today against Cape Breton Capers and Sunday against the St. Francis Xavier X-Women in Nova Scotia.
“To be absolutely safe, we need four points,” noted Mavin. “To be relatively safe, yet needing a little help, we need three points.
“If we pick up three against St. Francis, that means UPEI has to win both of their games.”
Wins are worth three points, with a single point for a tie.
There’s little to choose among the top five teams this season and there’s only two points separating second-place Dalhousie Tigers and Acadia Axewomen from first-place Cape Breton Capers at the top of the standings.
Last season, the fourth-, fifth- and sixth-place teams last year each finished with 17 points. This year, the fourth-place team has 19 points, fifth has 18 points and sixth with 16 points, each with two games still to play.
Mavin figures to make the playoffs this year, a team will need a minimum of 21 points.
Last year, Memorial finished seventh in the conference with a 3-5-5 for 14 points, three points behind Mount Allison, which clinched the final playoff spot. A loss to the University of Moncton in its final game kept MUN out of the post-season
So nothing is guaranteed.
Mavin said there are areas where the team needs to be at its best this weekend.
“We’re going to have to be very sound defensively, and girls know that,” he said. “Communication in our third of the field, and making the right decisions are a must. We talk about that almost every day as a team.
“Making the right decisions within 30 yards of our goal. That’s critical for us. We need to be very efficient and clean back there.”
And, of course, the Sea-Hawks need to take advantage of their scoring chances.
“We know players like Jane (Pope) and Jessie (Noseworthy) are going to get chances because they are very creative players. We just need players around them to step up and take advantage, said Mavin, who note that every time Pope got the ball last weekend, “you’d hear their coaches say ‘double up’ in an attempt to stop her.
Pope is MUN’s leading scorer with five goals in 11 games.
Mavin said Cape Breton will be tough.
“But we’ve played well in the past against that club, and we’re hoping to do the same (today).”
The Memorial Sea-Hawks men’s team (1-9-1) will be in Nova Scotia this weekend to take on the Cape Breton Capers (4-4-3) and St. Francis Xavier X-Men (5-3-3) in an attempt to avoid finishing in last place again this season.
Memorial is two points behind seventh-place Mount Allison heading into the final weekend of the regular season.