Women's soccer to find fresh footing in new season

Gaels' ‘goals set very high’ going into 2018 season

Jenny Wolever cashed in 19 points last season.
Credit: 
Photo by Ian MacAlpine

Despite a large crop of new faces rounding out the women’s soccer team’s roster this season, head coach Dave McDowell is confident his squad will continue to be a perennial threat in the OUA.

“We are a different group this year, an ambitious group, with goals set very high,” McDowell told The Journal in an interview. “We’re focusing just on how much we need to get better with every training session to get us those goals.”

The Gaels, who finished fifth in the OUA East last season, bid farewell to seven graduating players this offseason. Most notably, the team will be looking to fill the hole that forward Lauren Callender left. She led the conference with 13 goals in the 2017-18 campaign. 

Now, with a core group from last year’s recruiting class and a handful of rookies, the women are digging their heels in to stick with the OUA’s best.

Some of this season’s key seniors include Jenny Wolever, who led the OUA last year with 19 points. Alongside Wolever, Lidia Bradau and Alexandra Doane are becoming an increasingly dynamic attacking duo. Last year, Bradau was named an OUA First-Team All-Star, while Doane potted an OUA third-best 10 goals.

As for the younger players, McDowell said they’re progressively fitting into the spaces that graduates left behind. 

“We realize with being young that we’re going to do some young things and I think we need to learn a lot,” he said. “[We’ve] got the end goal in sight, but understand what you have to do to get there … The process itself is a work in progress.” 

Despite a small sample size of games to evaluate the squad with, the Gaels found early success in preseason competition at the end of the summer.

After winning a gold medal at the Old Four Tournament against McGill, University of Toronto and Western, the Gaels soared into their first exhibition game with a win over the University of Alberta.

In their first regular season game last Saturday against the Nipissing Lakers, Queen’s used a quick start to their advantage. 

The Gaels scored three times in just the opening half and came away with a 4-2 win. Wolever was the starred, scoring a hat-trick in her team’s home debut. 

The following day, Queen’s came out on top again, beating Laurentian 4-1 in what topped off their first weekend series sweep of the season.

With a perfect opening weekend under their belts, the Gaels—who are currently ranked fifth nationally—are well on their way to keeping up with their ambitions

McDowell said this weekend’s matchups will be a valuable experience for his young team when they take on the University of Ontario Institute of technology and Trent this weekend.

“Any game away is hard, especially for a young team while they’re still learning what it takes to play away from home.” 

 

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