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Lady Birds ready to take flight with familiar lineup

Memorial Sea-Hawks goalkeeper Sydney Walsh goes high to snag the ball in an Atlantic University Sport women’s soccer game against the Acadia Axewomen in Wolfville, N.S., last season. Walsh, a first-team AUS all-star in 2018-19, is being counted on to help Memorial back into the conference playoffs as the Sea-Hawks open a new schedule today at King George V Park in St. John’s, where they take on the Saint Mary’s Huskies at 1 p.m. — Submitted via Memorial Athletics.
Memorial Sea-Hawks goalkeeper Sydney Walsh goes high to snag the ball in an Atlantic University Sport women’s soccer game against the Acadia Axewomen in Wolfville, N.S., last season. Walsh, a first-team AUS all-star in 2018-19, is being counted on to help Memorial back into the conference playoffs as the Sea-Hawks open a new schedule today at King George V Park in St. John’s, where they take on the Saint Mary’s Huskies at 1 p.m. — Submitted via Memorial Athletics.

Returnees make up two-thirds of roster, and striker Stacey Hanlon returns after hiatus

While the turnover has been high on the Sea-Hawks men’s soccer team, it’s been pretty much the opposite for the Memorial University female side, which opens a new Atlantic University Sport campaign this weekend at King George V Park in St. John’s against the Saint Mary’s Huskies,

The Mike Power-coached Sea-Hawks have had some significant losses, including the graduations of midfielder Teri Murphy, a first-team conference all-star last year, and defender Keisha Younge, a second-team selection. However, the team will be anchored by veteran midfielder Nicole Torraville, forward Holly O’Neill and goalkeeper Sydney Walsh, the latter being an AUS first-team all-star in 2018-19, when she played every minute of Memorial’s 12 regular-season games and allowed only eight goals while doing so.

Walsh’s performance extended into the playoffs last fall, when the Sea-Hawks, 4-4-3 in the regular season and owners of the sixth and final AUS playoff berth, blasted the Dalhousie Tigers 4-0 in their opening game before losing 2-0 to the eventual champion Cape Breton Capers in a semifinal that saw Walsh make no less than 15 saves.

While Memorial was stout defensively last season, the team struggled to score. In fact, the four goals the Sea-Hawks tallied against Dal in that playoff opener represented two-thirds of their output in the regular-season output, when they had only six in 12 games.

The good news is that Stacey Hanlon is back with the Sea-Hawks after a year away, and is coming off a campaign in the local Breen’s Jubilee Trophy League that saw her produce 22 goals in 15 games and finish as the runner-up in scoring to former Memorial star Jessie Noseworthy.

Hanlon is one of 13 players on the Sea-Hawks roster who were Feildians, the runners-up to Holy Cross in the Jubilee Trophy play this summer. Another seven Memorial players were with Cross, meaning the only Sea-Hawk who didn’t play for either the Crusaders or Double Blues in local senior women’s play this season is rookie forward Zaida Pierce, who is from Nova Scotia.

That also means the Memorial games and practices over the next month will also serve as preparation for the national Jubilee Trophy tournament, to be held in St. John’s and surrounding area Oct. 9-14. Both Holy Cross and Feildians have berths in that competition.

The Sea-Hawks and Huskies will square off at 1 p.m. today and Sunday at KGV. With Newfoundland paying close attention to the track of Hurricane Dorian, there has been some question about weather conditions Sunday, but as Friday, expectations that the day’s game would be played.


Memorial Sea-Hawks roster

(year of eligibility in brackets)

Goalkeeper 

Sydney Walsh (3)

Defenders

Jamie King (2), Spencer Wilkins (5), Brianna Pender (3), Erin McKinnon (5), Mackenzie Hiscock (1), Chantel Armstrong (4), Shauna Foley (2), Anna Edwards (1), Sarah Woodford (1), Kristyn Lee (2)

Midfielders

Bethany Hynes (1), Lauren Taylor (3), Nicole Torraville (4), Makayla Pearl (3), Kristen Jenkins (2)

Forwards

Kate Hickey (2), Holly O'Neill (4), Zaida Pierce (1), Morgan Fitzgerald (1), Stacey Hanlon (4)


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