Since then, the Sea-Hawks have lost only two regular–season games (one each in 2015 and ’16), but have come up short in the playoffs each time.
With success comes expectations, however, and the program has reached a point where only winning matters.
Of course, that’s always easier said than done.
The Sea-Hawks finished four points out of first place last year, and six ahead of their nearest competitor, but fell 2-1 to Acadia in overtime in one of the two AUS Championship Weekend semifinals.
“The margins are so small when you get down to the semifinals and final,” said Sea-Hawks coach Mike Power. “It’s super tight at the top.”
That said, Power says there are three or four teams capable this season of winning the AUS championship this year, and he admits his Sea-Hawks are certainly among that group.
Memorial, one of the most consistent squads in the AUS these past three years, opens a new season against the Mount Allison Mounties starting today at King George V Park. Game times are 1 o’clock this afternoon and noon Sunday.
The Sea-Hawks enter a new year without their captain and first-team all-conference player, Hannah Rivkin, who Power argues might have been the best in the league last season.
Rivkin’s loss opens the door for Nicole Torraville, the AUS rookie of the year last season, whom Power will look to play major minutes in the midfield.
“Now it’s her job to fill Hannah’s role,” Power said. “It was good that she got the chance to play with Hannah last season.”
Power also pointed out Maria Mackey is a “quality player” and Lauren Taylor showed “really good form” at the Canada Games last month in Winnipeg.
Speaking of Canada Games, the Sea-Hawks are welcoming keeper Sydney Walsh into the program. Walsh was a standout for Newfoundland and Labrador at the Games, perhaps the best keeper in the entire tournament.
“She’s probably the biggest piece of the puzzle,” Power said. “She’ll be the only rookie in the starting lineup.”
You can’t talk MUN women’s soccer without mentioning Jessie Noseworthy, the conference MVP and leading goal-getter in Canadian university sports last season with 14.
Noseworthy is back, along with Jane Pope, who found the back of the net six times last season. Both are fifth-year players.
“They’re proven goal providers,” Power said. “We have firepower up front. I still expect us to be a very good attacking team.”
The Sea-Hawks were far and away the most offensive team last season with 51 goals. Acadia had the second-highest goal total with 35.
Yet it was the Axewomen who came out on top in the playoffs last season.
Not that Power and his charges have to be reminded of that fact.
“That loss definitely provides some motivation,” he said.
And make no mistake, given the depth of talent on the squad, people will be watching to see how they respond.
Memorial Sea-Hawks 2017 men’s soccer roster: