Head coach:Doug Lawrie, 8th season
Players to watch:Michelle Herms – forward; Laura Girard – Defence; Julia Friesen – Forward; Abby Grant – Defence
Preview:A new year and almost a brand new squad for the 2018 edition of the Red River Rebels women’s soccer team. The team has a roster of 15 players and only four returning players yet head coach Doug Lawrie is optimistic the team will come together quickly and seeks early wins in the season as the Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference (MCAC) will be as competitive as ever.
“Every game in the MCAC schedule is very important to try to get a result,” commented Lawrie. “The league had tremendous parity last year with only four points separating first place from fifth place. I don’t see that changing this year.”
A couple of newcomers are expected to make an immediate impact as Michelle Herms, a former Manitoba Bisons player, is a speed demon and will be look upon to generate offence off the wing. In addition, Laura Girard is an experienced high school player from St. Paul’s and will be an anchor on defence.
Of the four returnees, third year players Julia Friesen and Abby Grant will be leaned on to have a big season. Friesen is another speedy winger who has scored on headers in the box while Grant returns from a season-ending injury and will also be another strong anchor on the defensive side.
Red River started the new season with a 1-1 draw in exhibition play vs. Titans SC of WWSL 1st Division and the team had the first opportunity to ‘gel’ while experiencing some game action before conference play begins.
The Rebels are poised to compete for a playoff spot in 2018, just missing out last year by only one point, and that is the first goal for this year’s team despite the lack of depth and numbers on the roster.
Red River Rebels women’s soccer team are primed for their season opener on Saturday, September 15 at Providence University College Pilots and then hosting the Rebels’ home opener on Sunday, September16 September against Université de Saint-Boniface Les Rouges. Both matches start at 1 p.m. CT.
The season ends with the MCAC Soccer Championships held at the Winnipeg Soccer Complex on October 27-28.
– by Chris Zuk