Soccer team continues breakout season

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Cougars post their first winning weekend

In what has been a breakout season for the University of Regina women’s soccer team, the women come back from an Alberta road-trip with their first winning weekend of the year, going 1-0-1. The Cougars put together a 3-2 victory against Mount Royal in Calgary, and then a 1-1 tie the next day in Lethbridge. This result brings their season total to 3-4-3, already a point ahead of last year with four games to go.

Against Mount Royal on Saturday, the two Cougar teams had a very close match. While Mount Royal actually led the shots on goal 10-8, keeper Kylie Bolton proved more solid on the day and kept her team in it. The Cougars’ three goals came from Olivia Gables, Kirsten Finlay, and Natalie McCulough. This marked Gable’s fourth and Finlay’s second goal of the season, while it was McCulough’s first. The rookies have been a huge part of Regina’s success, something that first-year Sierra Kolodziej can attest to.

“The rookies coming in are a great group of girls. We all pushed to want to be the best team this year and I think we brought some people who can bring a good mindset to the team.

“We just want to show that we belong, and we want to be in the starting line up, we want to play together and win.”

On Sunday against Lethbridge, the Cougars played another hard-fought game. They are no strangers to tough conditions after their snow game last weekend. The teams played in 50km/h winds en-route to a 1-1 tie. Kylie Bolton was a big contributor once again, stopping nine of the ten shots she faced. Kyra Vibert scored her first of the season off of a feed from Sydney Langen who has also been great for the Cougars this year. The veteran Langen’s assist brings her points total for the year to four, tying her for the team lead. Both teams had some great chances in the dying minutes but failed to beat the tie and both teams settle for one point on the weekend. The Cougars are beginning to heat up at the right time with only two weeks left until playoffs. For Kolodziej, the weekend was a testament to the team’s resilience.

“Against Mount Royal we came out a bit iffy. It was super windy, and the grass was really long but we definitely came back strong, they scored first and that gave us the urge to keep pushing.”

They maintain their dramatic improvement in goals per game, where they are up to 1.40 from last year’s 0.625. This is a product of their improved offensive systems and great influx of new players. The team has only gotten better all season long and continues to beat teams below them in the standings, such as Mount Royal, but also contend against the upper echelon of Canada West. They are no slouches defensively either, allowing only 1.9 against per game, a number that has been trending downward in recent weeks. Kolodziej credits this improvement to the Cougars team atmosphere.

“Coming in it was very intimidating, but as I adapted it opened my eyes to the team atmosphere.”

“You can’t really tell between the fifth and first-years, everyone is a family.”

The Cougars will continue their best campaign since 2016 next weekend with a double-header against rivals University of Saskatchewan. The Huskies are third in the Prairie conference with 18 points and should prove tough competition for the fifth-ranked Cougars. One of these games will take place at home at the U of R pitch Oct. 12. The Cougars are firmly in playoff position now and will look to build momentum toward November, which for Kolodziej is the ultimate goal.

“We’re looking towards playoffs; we have a huge weekend coming up against U of S and we want to make that a six-point weekend. We want to show teams that we are a team to look out for.”

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