Mavericks target playoff repeat
Division one champions in St. Albert Women's Soccer League defend playoff cup Sunday against SA Force
By: Jeff Hansen
| Posted: Wednesday, Sep 11, 2013 06:00 am
A sweet repeat is only one win away for Mavericks 09 in the St. Albert Women’s Soccer League.
The reigning division one playoff champions will defend their crown Sunday against SA Force. Kickoff is 5 p.m. at Forest Park field.
“It’s awesome to be in the final again. That’s what we wanted to do,” said Chelsey Marques, a quick-as-a-whip forward, after scoring twice in the 5-1 semifinal victory over the Lady Titans last weekend.
The Mavericks are a sparkling 15-1 in league play and 16-2-2 overall as the fourth-place finishers at Tier III provincials in Calgary. Their only loss before provincials was 3-2 to the Force on Aug. 13.
The surging Force are 12-4-1 going into the final after upsetting the second-place Morinville Ladies 4-2 in Sunday’s playoff. Two of the Force losses were 1-0 and 4-2 scores against the Mavericks.
Last year the Force finished 16-0-1 as the division two pennant winners and playoff champions.
Angie Mason of the Force was this year’s runaway leader of the division one Golden Boot Award with a whopping 33 goals, 17 more than runner-up Suzanne Schulz of the Mavericks. Schulz was last year’s top gun with 17 in league play, plus seven at Tier IV provincials and two more in the playoffs for the 19-1 Mavericks.
“We’re hoping to do the same as last year and repeat,” Marques said. “Our coach (Shane Moore) said at the beginning of the season it’s easier sometimes to get a title than defend it because everyone is on your tails to beat you.”
In the semifinal the Titans, ranked fourth in the division at 4-10-1, surprised the Mavericks in the second minute as Lise Hennessey drained a shot.
“It was kind of a rough start, but we said, ‘OK, we can get it back,’” Marques said. “We’re a team that doesn’t really give up. We keep fighting. That’s what we try to do. We want to do well and win.”
After falling behind, the Mavericks poured on the pressure to lead 3-1 at halftime on goals by Megan Sinke (from a sharp angle in 20th minute), Marques (long, low shot to cap off a two-on-one burst up the middle with Schulz in the 28th minute) and Jen Bruinsma (slotted the ball inside the far post to finish a strong push upfield by the team in the 34th minute).
“Once we started talking more we made better passes and we used our space,” Marques said.
In the second half, goals less than a minute apart by Bruinsma (header off a Marques’ corner kick) and Marques (labeled a shot in tight after driving to the net) before the 72nd minute completed the scoring.
The goalkeeping exploits of Robyn Granger limited the Mavericks to only a handful of goals.
Bruinsma, a dominating figure at striker, led her team in scoring chances by a wide margin but had to settle for only a pair after netting 10 in league play and three at provincials.
Marques also had ample opportunities to record the hat-trick marker but was unsuccessful in her quest after scoring only four goals in the regular season.
“We were in their end for the most part and I don't think they got more than a shot in the second half,” Marques said.
It was the Mavericks’ first match since going 1-1-2 at provincials. In the round robin they tied the Calgary Eastside Athletics 1-1, edged the Calgary Kodiaks 2-1 and settled for a 2-2 draw against the Calgary Blizzard Express after giving up the equalizer with two minutes to play.
Lindsey Hornung scored against Eastside, Schulz tallied twice against the Kodiaks and Bruinsma had both goals against the 1-1-1 Express in the round robin.
In the bronze playoff the Mavericks lost 3-2 to the Express as Bruinsma and Kristen Patrick found the back of the net.
It was 1-0 Mavericks when Hornung, a veteran forward, replaced the team’s injured goalkeeper and the tide turned for the Express.
“They beat us probably in those last 30 minutes,” Marques said. “They had two beautiful shots that were high shots that caught Lindsey off guard. No one would’ve probably got them so it was tough.
“I guess they just had a little bit more fight in them.”
Four matches in three days left the Mavericks feeling spent.
“It was a tough weekend. All of us were exhausted and it was super hot,” Marques said. “We were hurting too. A lot of us were injured. For myself and two or three of the other girls it was our ankles and that’s partly from the rough fields and just rough play by Calgary. They’re tough teams.”
It was the second time in three trips to provincials the Mavericks finished fourth, and both tournaments were in Calgary. Last year Edmonton hosted provincials and the Mavericks finished 3-1 for Tier IV bronze.
“We were very, very close this year (to winning bronze), but when you go down to a different city it’s all different. (Calgary) teams are used to it. They’re used to the refs, and that’s another thing, so it’s hard but it was still a good weekend. We all had fun and it was great playing against really tough teams,” said Marques, 25, who did double duty in the second division for Mavericks 95 as their goalkeeper and when called upon to play out responded with a team-high nine goals.