The Memorial Sea-Hawks men’s and women’s soccer teams will be in Nova Scotia later this week for Atlantic University Sport (AUS) playoff tournaments.
Both the men’s tourney in Sydney, N.S., and the women’s event in Antigonish, N.S., begin Thursday, but the Sea-Hawks women’s side won’t play on opening day. Their second-place regular-season finish means they get a bye directly into Friday’s semifinal round.
The Memorial men, meanwhile, claimed the sixth and final playoff berth last weekend, leading them to a quarter-final matchup against the third-place University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds at 4:30 p.m. (NT) Thursday.
Here are some other things worth noting leading into the AUS playoffs:
• MUN played UNB twice this season at King George V Park in St. John’s, getting shellacked 5-0 in the first meeting, but bouncing back for a 1-0 victory the next day.
• If the Sea-Hawks get past the Varsity Reds on Thursday, they will face the first-place and host Cape Breton Capers in a semifinal Saturday. The Capers were undefeated in the regular season going 11-0-1, with one of their wins coming over Memorial on Sept. 23, when they edged the Sea-Hawks 3-2 in Sydney.
• In its dozen games this year, Memorial (5-6-1) scored four more goals than it allowed (20 to 16). Almost half the team’s tallies came from Tyler Forsey, who had nine on the season, second-most in the conference. Tyler Kirby added four markers for MUN.
• Two of Forsey’s goals came Friday at KGV in the 2-1 win over the Universite de Moncton that clinched a playoff spot for the Sea-Hawks. That performance, which saw the fifth-year kinesiology student from St. Philip’s score a game-tying goal early in the second half and the winner in injury time, led to him being named Memorial’s latest male athlete of the week.
• Memorial goalkeeper Braedan Sheppard had a 4-6-1 record, 1.52 goals-against-average and .754 save percentage, with three shutouts in the regular season.
• In their 12 regular-season games, UNB (7-3-2) scored 25 goals, second-most in the conference, and allowed seven, second-fewest. The Varsity Reds’ leading scorer is Dan Walker, who has eight, while UNB goalkeeper Evan Baker played all 12 of his teams games, posting five shutouts and registering a .863 save percentage, best in the AUS.
• Among other teams in the tourney, a player worth noting is C.B.S. native Thomas Pieroway, the ’keeper for the second-place St. Francis Xavier X-Men, who like the Capers, have a first-round bye. Pieroway went 6-1-2 this season with five shutouts and 0.67 GAA, second-best in the AUS.
• Thursday’s other quarter-final game has fifth-place UPEI taking on fourth-place Acadia.
• Both the eventual AUS champion and runner-up will advance to the USports Canadian university championship later this month in Kamloops, B.C., as the conference has two berths for the nationals.
• In the semifinals, the Lady Hawks (7-1-4) will face the highest-seeded team advancing from the tournament’s first day, which will be third-seed Dalhousie, which is facing UNB in one of Thursday’s quarter-finals, or host St. Francis Xavier or Acadia, who are squaring off in the other. Memorial faced each of these teams once in the regular season and didn’t suffer a loss… but the Sea-Hawks didn’t score much either, playing to scoreless draws against Acadia and St. FX and trimming Dal 1-0.
• Memorial’s scoring came in bursts this season. The Sea-Hawks had 26 regular-season goals, with 19 of them coming in three games. What has been consistent has been the MUN defence, which surrendered only six goals, five of them coming in the team’s only loss, which came at the hands (or feet) of the first-place Cape Breton Capers. The Sea-Hawks had an amazing 10 shutouts in 12 games, all posted by rookie goalkeeper Sydney Walsh.
• For a third straight season, the Sea-Hawks were led in scoring by striker Jessie Noseworthy, who had 10 goals on the season, giving her 48 in her varsity career, more than anyone in Memorial women’s soccer history. Three of her goals came over the weekend at KGV in a two-game sweep of visiting Moncton, helping give Noseworthy the nod as MUN’s female athlete of the week. Nicole Torraville, with four goals, and Jane Pope, with three, are second and third on the Sea-Hawks’ scoring list.
• Cape Breton’s 5-0 win over Memorial on Sept. 23 was part of what has been an undefeated, powerhouse season for the Capers, whose starting lineup includes fifth-year midfielder Alyssa Armstrong of St. John’s. Cape Breton (11-0-1) scored 50 goals, averaging more than 12 a game, and gave up just four.
• The AUS has just one berth in the national USports women's soccer tournament beginning Nov. 9 in Winnipeg.
• All games of the AUS men’s and women’s championship will be available via webcast, live at www.AUStv.ca.