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    Categories: Soccer

Mavericks chase soccer medals in Calgary

ATTACKING - Suzanne Schulz points the way for Allyson Fong (middle) and Chelsey Marques (10), with Kristen Patrick in the background, during Sunday's practice for Mavericks 09 in the St. Albert Women's Soccer League. The Mavericks (12-0) are competing at the Tier III provincials this weekend in Calgary. Last year the Mavericks were awarded silver while going 17-1 in provincial and league action.

Mavericks 09 are committed to the cause of bringing home a medal from the Alberta Soccer Association Tier III championship this weekend in Calgary.

“We will fight tooth and nail. We want to do well. We’re excited,” said Chelsey Marques, a scoring threat for the undefeated St. Albert Women’s Soccer League team.

The Mavericks were awarded Tier III silver last year and gold in 2014 and Tier IV bronze in 2012.

“We’ve never medalled in Calgary. All of our medals have been in Edmonton,” said head coach Shane Moore at Sunday’s practice at Forest Park field. “We’ve finished fourth the last two times in Calgary. We want to improve on that and that’s what we’re focusing on.”

The Mavericks are like a fine wine because they keep getting better with age.

“We always go into provincials with the idea that we’re going to be the oldest team there,” Moore said. “We know we’re always in tough. Last year in the final (2-1 loss to the youthful KC Trojans) we finished the game and they had 30 parents run across the field and we had 30 kids run across the field. It’s a bit of a different place where we are.”

In pool two, the Mavericks play Calgary No. 1 at 4 p.m. Saturday and Rio Terrace FC, 14-0 in division 3B in the Edmonton District Soccer Association, at 11:30 a.m. Sunday.

The Trojans, 11-2-1 in EDSA division 3D and the No. 1 Edmonton rep at provincials, are in pool one with the Calgary No 2 and No. 3 teams

Monday’s medal finals are 9 a.m. for bronze and 11 a.m. for gold.

“We play three games in really less than 48 hours so we know we’re going to use everyone,” Moore said.

The Mavericks are 12-0 this year – 48 GF/5 GA in seven matches in the single division and 20 GF/0 GA in five matches in division one – after going 17-1 in league and provincials last year as the winner of three division one playoff cups in a row and four in five years.

“We use indoor (5-9 in EDSA division one last winter) to kind of get ready for outdoor and then we use the outdoor season to really work on those little things that get our game going and then hopefully it pans out in provincials,” Moore said.

The Mavericks are dangerous offensively with multiple players taking turns finding the back of the net.

“We really try and focus on keeping control of the ball. We really like to attack and that’s kind of our calling card,” Moore said. “Our formation setup is to really push the play and that’s why oftentimes you will see goals but at the same time as we go forward we really focus on possession. We’re really not trying to play long ball, we’re trying to keep the ball all the time.”

Marques sees improvement in the team’s ability to target open space.

“Shane is really trying to teach us how to use the whole field and I think this year out of any of our other years we’re really learning to use all of our space,” said the nimble forward.

Eight goals by Marques this season is one less than Natalie Miller’s team-high total.

“I’m really trying to look more at the play and getting into open area so that I can get a quick ball, especially on crosses from the opposite sides. I’m just kind of hanging out and running in at the right moment so I’m trying to make good runs,” said the right-footed kicker. “I really need to work on my left. I’ve scored one goal with my left and that was just kind of like a tap in.”

The Mavericks are one of the original SAWSL teams and their sister team, Mavericks 95, competes in division two.

“We’ve got kind of three pockets of girls. They came from the original Mavericks’ team, which started in 1995, and we split that team in 2009 and that’s the reason we’re Mavericks 09. We took six or seven of the girls that really wanted to play a bit more competitively and then found some other players,” said Moore, who has been associated with the St. Albert Mavericks Soccer Club since 2000 and started coaching the 09 team in its first season.

“We have a really good team with lots of talent and we’ve grown our team from people who know each other and it helps. We’ve found some really good players and the selling feature for our team is that it’s really low commitment. Once a week you come out and run around and play some good soccer,” added Moore, the SAWSL co-director of operations since 2005. “We come out on Sundays and we play. That’s what we do. We don’t practice at all really during the season. I would say we’re a little bit lower on prep this year because last year we had three or four games against EDSA teams before provincials.”

Marques, 29, is among the many products of the Edmonton Christian Lions in the lineup.

“A lot of us have been playing soccer for so long and then just as a team. I’ve been with this team maybe six years or so and but a lot of the other girls, I’ve played soccer with them in high school,” said Marques, one of the very few non-mothers on the Mavericks. “We gel really well, we work hard and we have one of the best coaches that works with us. We care about it but we always have fun with it and it’s definitely our thing.”

Jeff Hansen: Jeff Hansen joined the St. Albert Gazette in 1991. He writes about sports, athletes and teams from St. Albert and area.