Mavericks 09 capture playoff cup
Undefeated season in the St. Albert Women's Soccer League
By: Jeff Hansen
| Posted: Wednesday, Sep 12, 2012 06:00 am
A dominating season by the Mavericks 09 ended with an undefeated record in the St. Albert Women’s Soccer League and the division one playoff cup.
The 16th victory in league play was Sunday’s 4-1 decision against the Morinville Ladies at Eldorado field.
The Tier IV provincial bronze medallists finished 19-1 overall. Their only blemish was the 2-1 setback to WSC Storm of the Edmonton District Soccer Association at provincials.
“We were revved up coming off provincials last weekend,” said striker Jen Bruinsma. “It was definitely tough to lose out in the semifinals. It was our only loss of the season. We didn’t take that loss too well so we wanted to come out strong and solid (Sunday).”
The division pennant winners also defeated Morinville by scores of 4-2, 5-0 and 5-2 in the regular season.
“There was lots of pressure on us. It was the league final and we had played Morinville three times before and we weren’t prepared to have another loss,” Bruinsma said.
Morinville placed second at 11-4 with a winning record against every team except the Mavericks.
“They’re always tough games,” said Stephanie Gray of Morinville. “If we had a full squad it would be a lot closer for sure but they definitely earned every win they had against us.”
Gray opened the scoring in the 17th middle with a well-struck ball over top of goalkeeper Krista Gordon. The centre-midfielder had all day to tee up the straight-ahead long shot for her sixth goal of the season.
“It went top left with a slight curve,” Gray said. “It was just a hanging ball and it was a beauty.”
The Mavericks netted the equalizer in the 26th minute, when Allyson Fong salted away Suzanne Schulz’s rebound. Schulz pressured the last Morinville defender into turning over the ball in front of goalkeeper Dani Lafond, who blocked the first attempt by the division’s top scorer but was out of position to stop the uncovered Fong.
Bruinsma’s first of two goals was a powerful boot that sailed past Lafond in the 39th minute.
“They came out strong but we fought back pretty hard,” Bruinsma said. “Sometimes we’re a second half team and we need that first goal to give us a little bit of an edge and get us back on our toes.”
Schulz’s 26th goal – 17 in league play, seven at provincials and two in the playoffs – was set up by Gordon’s kick seven minutes into the second half.
Morinville’s top snipers – Suzanne Gaetz and Mel Duro – had chances to make it a one-goal deficit but were unable to finish in front of Gordon.
With 10 minutes remaining, Bruinsman turned sweeper Cherisse Gunderson inside out with some slick footwork before going top shelf on Lafond for her 14th goal of the season in league and provincials combined.
Gray, 24, said Morinville was unable to keep up with the Mavericks in the second half.
“It started off pretty good and then I don’t know what happened towards the end,” she said. “They outworked us today but for the most part we worked hard with what we had. A lot of girls were playing through injuries.”
Morinville had only one sub for the final and fatigue played a role in the loss.
“We’ve had a short team all year. We rarely have a sub,” Gray said. “We just tried our best and stayed positive.”
Bruinsma, 34, said everybody on the Mavericks contributed to the team’s success.
“We’ve worked so hard as a team all year,” said the mother of two. “It starts with coaching (by Shane Moore) and communication. We’re also a positive group of girls. We’re out there for each other. If someone scores a goal it’s the whole team that helped them out on the field.”