The Memorial Sea-Hawks women’s soccer team is losing plenty of star power this season, but don’t expect coach Mike Power to write off the 2018 campaign.
“Definitely not,” Power said this week when asked if his charges are rebuilding, as the Sea-Hawks prepared to open a new season this weekend against UPEI at King George V Park. “Not a chance.
“We’re absolutely a playoff team. We’ve established ourselves as a contender the past few years, and we have every intention of maintaining that status.”
The Sea-Hawks won the 2014 Atlantic University Sport championship, and reached the playoffs each of the past three seasons.
Memorial was 7-1-4 last year, finishing second to Cape Breton Capers. In the playoffs, the Sea-Hawks met third-seeded Acadia in semifinal play, where the Axewomen came away with a 1-0 upset win on penalty kicks.
There’s no question 2018 will be more challenging for these Sea-Hawks.
That’s because former AUS MVP and perennial all-star Jessie Noseworthy has graduated. Ditto Jane Pope, who, like Noseworthy, was a first-team all-star last season. Claire Skanes, an all-star defender throughout her MUN career, Emily Bailey and Stacey Hanlon have also graduated.
All this means there will be a lot more pressure on Nicole Torraville this year.
Torraville was the AUS rookie of the year two years ago as a midfielder, but has been asked by Power to step up to striker and pick up some of the scoring slack Noseworthy is leaving behind.
“She’s a highly-talented player,” Power said of the St. John’s native. “She had an excellent off-season. She’s as fit as she’s ever been.”
Power also expects big things from third-year forward Holly O’Neill and transfer Makayla Pearl from Ontario, who arrives from NCAA Division I Chicago State University.
“Holly had a hard time getting a lot of playing time,” Power said of the striker who netted a pair of goals last season. “But she can do a lot of damage. This is a great opportunity for her.”
Pearl, who hails from Cambridge, started in 17 of 19 games for Chicago State last season. Power says she has family in Newfoundland, and was looking to return to Canada.
“This is a strong team, and it’s a good school … a good fit,” Power said.
Also returning this season are 2018 second-team all-stars Sydney Walsh, Teri Murphy and Keisha Younge.
Walsh, the starting goalkeeper, tied for the league lead in wins last season (seven), and was in contention for rookie of the year honours. Younge is the Sea-Hawks’ captain this season, and Power says he will be “shocked” if Murphy is not a conference all-star again this season.
The Sea-Hawks and Panthers meet 1 p.m. today and Sunday at King George V.
Sydney Walsh, Jamie King, Keisha Younge, Spencer Wilkins, Briana Pender, Teri Murphy, Kate Hickey, Lauren Taylor, Nicole Torraville, Maria Mackey, Holly O’Neill, Chantel Armstrong, Makayla Pearl, Erin McKinnon, Kristen Jenkins, Jenny Bent, Rachel Kieley, Morgan Fitzgerald, Shauna Foley, Olivia Kearley and Kristyn Lee.
Mike Power is the head coach, Laura Breen is assistant coach, Matt Peddle is goalkeeper’s coach, Lauren Windsor is assistant coach/physio, Krista Mullaly Dobbin is the athletic therapist and Krista Hogan is the strength and conditioning coach.