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Women’s soccer eyes post-season

Adam Travis / The Brunswickan

Adam Travis / The Brunswickan

UNB Varsity Reds women’s soccer head coach Jon Crossland has high hopes for his team this season.

“We made it very clear that we want to contend for an AUS Championship,” said Crossland when asked what he expects from his club this season. “To do that, the first step is to get into the playoffs. That’s our expectation.”

The Reds have missed the playoffs in each of the past two seasons, posting a combined record of 6-12-8. But the team posted four wins last season compared to two in 2012. Crossland hopes the team can continue moving in a positive direction.

“With the older group, the trust, commitment and dedication to the cause is there because they’ve played in this league long enough to know what it takes to be successful and also the things that we need to do better to be successful,” Crossland said.

“We want to win an AUS Championship — and [go] further if possible. But the first step is to get ourselves into the playoffs.”

UNB finished seventh in Atlantic University Sport (AUS) last season with a 4-7-2 record. They were five points back of the Memorial University Sea-Hawks, the team that grabbed the final playoff spot and who the Reds will open the 2014 season against this weekend.

The V-Reds’ roster will be made up of mostly returning players with a few new recruits sprinkled in. New additions include four freshmen and goalkeeper Sami Jo Bell who transferred from Saint Mary’s University.

There will be one very noticeable absence on the list of returnees though: last year’s team MVP and first team AUS all-star Brianna Ford, who chose not to return to the club for the 2014 season.

On her decision to leave the Reds, Ford told Bruce Hallihan of The Daily Gleaner last week that “after playing football and rugby, I love going to practice all the time now. I just lost that a little bit for soccer. When you don’t love it anymore, it’s time to move on. It was a really difficult choice, though.”

Ford’s six goals last season were a team high and good for third in the AUS. Crossland spoke highly of Ford, a physical presence who has been playing football and rugby this summer in Fredericton.

“She made a life choice,” Crossland added. “I fully respect that.”

The team was made aware of Ford’s plans at the end of the 2013-14 school year, giving them plenty of time to prepare and adjust for the upcoming campaign.

“We brought Sam Lagace back who was our captain two years ago and an AUS all-star two years ago,” Crossland said. “So hopefully she’ll chip in with a few.

“What I’ve told the attacking crews is that nobody needs to take on the burden of scoring six goals. What we need is [scoring] by committee. Two or three from each girl will go a long way over the course of the season.”

The team will carry three goalkeepers this year: Bell, rookie Rebecca Duda, and returnee Brittany Carroll.

“I’d say Sami Jo, right now, is the number one,” Crossland said. “But I expect the other two to push her and go from there.”

Overall, Crossland likes this year’s V-Reds roster.

“I really like the whole group. We’re going to be hard to play against. Teams aren’t going to like playing against us because we’re going to make them earn every piece.”

The Reds begin the regular season this weekend with a pair of games at Memorial University. Their home opener is on Sept. 13 against Cape Breton.

If the Reds reach their goal of making the playoffs, they’ll be heading to Dalhousie University which will be the host site for the this year’s Subway AUS Women’s Soccer Championship from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2. The CIS Championship will be held at the University of Laval from Nov. 6-9.



Varsity Reds Women’s Soccer Past Five Seasons

2013: 4-7-2 (7th in AUS; missed playoffs)

2012: 2-5-6 (8th in AUS; missed playoffs)

2011: 4-7-2 (6th in AUS; eliminated by DAL in quarter-finals)

2010: 4-7-2 (7th in AUS; missed playoffs)

2009: 2-10-1 (10th in AUS; missed playoffs)

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