Top News

Sea-Hawks soccer sides showing signs of improvement

University of Moncton Aigles Bleues forward Fily Mamaday Diallo (left) and the MUN Sea-Hawks’ Austin Blade (right) vie for a ball during the teams’ Atlantic University Sport conference men’s soccer match at King George V Park in St. John’s last weekend. Both MUN teams are on the road this weekend looking to keep their respective winning streaks alive with games against St. Francis Xavier Cape Breton University.
University of Moncton Aigles Bleues forward Fily Mamaday Diallo (left) and the MUN Sea-Hawks’ Austin Blade (right) vie for a ball during the teams’ Atlantic University Sport conference men’s soccer match at King George V Park in St. John’s last weekend. Both MUN teams are on the road this weekend looking to keep their respective winning streaks alive with games against St. Francis Xavier Cape Breton University.

Memorial Sea-Hawks men’s and women’s soccer teams each find themselves in fourth place after seven games in the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) conference which is just past the half-way mark of the season.Granted the last pair of games, which were each two-game sweeps for the Sea-Hawks, were against University of Moncton, which is struggling in both men’s and women’s play.

Perhaps a better indication of how well both MUN sides are playing this season will be after this weekend’s road games in Nova Scotia against the University of Cape Breton Capers.

The Capers’ men’s team is third with a 4-2-1 record for 13 points, three more than Memorial.

Cape Breton’s female side has a 4-2-1 record for 13 points, one more than the Lady Hawks.

The Sea-Hawk teams take on St. Francis Xavier Sunday. St. Francis women are in fifth place (3-3-2) record, while St. FX men are seventh with a 2-3-2 mark.

“I have been very impressed with how quickly the players have come together,” said MUN men’s soccer coach Scott Betts, who pointed out he only had four days to pick the team and run a training camp.  

He noted while the team lost its opening games to UNB Varsity Reds, the Sea-Hawks almost stole the second match, losing 2-1.

Betts said having the second weekend off gave the team proper preparation time in which to establish a style of play with specific roles and responsibilities.

He said the improvement was immediate.

“We began to function better as a team versus good individual performances and our goals against have been limited to two in the past five games while scoring six times.”

He said there’s plenty to be positive about.

“Our work rate is high and has been sustained throughout the 90 minutes. (Rookie goalkeeper) Andrew Anson has been steadily improving his contribution to each game which has allowed us to become much improved defensively.

“Matthew Hamlyn, Greg Reid and Alex Pretty have been solid in the middle at the back, while Sean Fardy, Taedy O'Rourke, Ben Collingwood and Matthew Voigt are doing a tremendous amount of work up and down the flanks with equal contribution to our counter-attack efforts.”

Betts said the midfield, even playing without injured Jordi Slaney, has been showing plenty of promise.

“(Rookies) Jacob Wescott and Austin Blades are putting in 90-minute performances like seasoned players. Aaron Anstey is performing double-duty. He has been called on to provide us with full games in the midfield and stints up front. He is big and strong and takes care of the ball very well.”

Betts admitted his team has had trouble scoring in recent years, and has only seven goals in seven games so far this season.

“We do have depth in our front line. Tyler Forsey, Carter Mackey, Kyle Williams are all very good around the box and should improve as they mature with the season.”

Memorial is playing host to the AUS men’s soccer championship Oct. 31-Nov. 2.

In the meantime, Betts said star midfielder Slaney reinjured his quad and will be out for at least two more weeks.

On the MUN women’s side, Lady Hawks coach Walt Mavin said he’s pleased with where the team is at this point in the season.

Mavin pointed out after dropping the first two games to UNB, the team has rebounded nicely and, “are starting to find the back of the net.”

The team is also getting solid goalkeeping from Hannah Noseworthy and Jaime Crocker, with each posting a shutout last weekend against the University of Moncton.

“I have full confidence in both of our keepers,” Mavin said at Tuesday night’s practice session.

Mavin said even in the first two losses, the team created enough scoring chances in both games to get results.

“That's not to suggest that we have everything sorted out from a finishing perspective since then, but it's encouraging when you have players like Jessie Noseworthy and (rookie) Emily Bailey amongst the leaders in goals scored in the league.”

Noseworthy and Bailey have each scored five goals.

Mavin said the team continues to work on creating chances and finishing.

“In addition to Jessie and Emily, we know we have capable goal scorers in players like Jane Pope (who led the Sea-Hawks in scoring last season), Maria Mackey, Hannah Rivkin, Chelsea Tiller and Teri Murphy.

“Aside from our improved efforts in the attacking third, the team continues to make progress in maintaining possession in the defensive and middle thirds of the field, as well as defensively overall,” he said, pointing out the team has only conceded five goals in seven games to date, “which speaks to the efforts of our backline and goalkeepers.”

Mavin also noted the importance of team depth this season. Last Sunday’s game against UdeM was played without four starters in the lineup due to injuries and accumulated yellow cards.

“Our next big test will come this weekend in back to back games against two very good opponents in Cape Breton and St. FX,” said Mavin.

jbrowne@thetelegram.com

Perhaps a better indication of how well both MUN sides are playing this season will be after this weekend’s road games in Nova Scotia against the University of Cape Breton Capers.

The Capers’ men’s team is third with a 4-2-1 record for 13 points, three more than Memorial.

Cape Breton’s female side has a 4-2-1 record for 13 points, one more than the Lady Hawks.

The Sea-Hawk teams take on St. Francis Xavier Sunday. St. Francis women are in fifth place (3-3-2) record, while St. FX men are seventh with a 2-3-2 mark.

“I have been very impressed with how quickly the players have come together,” said MUN men’s soccer coach Scott Betts, who pointed out he only had four days to pick the team and run a training camp.  

He noted while the team lost its opening games to UNB Varsity Reds, the Sea-Hawks almost stole the second match, losing 2-1.

Betts said having the second weekend off gave the team proper preparation time in which to establish a style of play with specific roles and responsibilities.

He said the improvement was immediate.

“We began to function better as a team versus good individual performances and our goals against have been limited to two in the past five games while scoring six times.”

He said there’s plenty to be positive about.

“Our work rate is high and has been sustained throughout the 90 minutes. (Rookie goalkeeper) Andrew Anson has been steadily improving his contribution to each game which has allowed us to become much improved defensively.

“Matthew Hamlyn, Greg Reid and Alex Pretty have been solid in the middle at the back, while Sean Fardy, Taedy O'Rourke, Ben Collingwood and Matthew Voigt are doing a tremendous amount of work up and down the flanks with equal contribution to our counter-attack efforts.”

Betts said the midfield, even playing without injured Jordi Slaney, has been showing plenty of promise.

“(Rookies) Jacob Wescott and Austin Blades are putting in 90-minute performances like seasoned players. Aaron Anstey is performing double-duty. He has been called on to provide us with full games in the midfield and stints up front. He is big and strong and takes care of the ball very well.”

Betts admitted his team has had trouble scoring in recent years, and has only seven goals in seven games so far this season.

“We do have depth in our front line. Tyler Forsey, Carter Mackey, Kyle Williams are all very good around the box and should improve as they mature with the season.”

Memorial is playing host to the AUS men’s soccer championship Oct. 31-Nov. 2.

In the meantime, Betts said star midfielder Slaney reinjured his quad and will be out for at least two more weeks.

On the MUN women’s side, Lady Hawks coach Walt Mavin said he’s pleased with where the team is at this point in the season.

Mavin pointed out after dropping the first two games to UNB, the team has rebounded nicely and, “are starting to find the back of the net.”

The team is also getting solid goalkeeping from Hannah Noseworthy and Jaime Crocker, with each posting a shutout last weekend against the University of Moncton.

“I have full confidence in both of our keepers,” Mavin said at Tuesday night’s practice session.

Mavin said even in the first two losses, the team created enough scoring chances in both games to get results.

“That's not to suggest that we have everything sorted out from a finishing perspective since then, but it's encouraging when you have players like Jessie Noseworthy and (rookie) Emily Bailey amongst the leaders in goals scored in the league.”

Noseworthy and Bailey have each scored five goals.

Mavin said the team continues to work on creating chances and finishing.

“In addition to Jessie and Emily, we know we have capable goal scorers in players like Jane Pope (who led the Sea-Hawks in scoring last season), Maria Mackey, Hannah Rivkin, Chelsea Tiller and Teri Murphy.

“Aside from our improved efforts in the attacking third, the team continues to make progress in maintaining possession in the defensive and middle thirds of the field, as well as defensively overall,” he said, pointing out the team has only conceded five goals in seven games to date, “which speaks to the efforts of our backline and goalkeepers.”

Mavin also noted the importance of team depth this season. Last Sunday’s game against UdeM was played without four starters in the lineup due to injuries and accumulated yellow cards.

“Our next big test will come this weekend in back to back games against two very good opponents in Cape Breton and St. FX,” said Mavin.

jbrowne@thetelegram.com

Recent Stories