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This article was published 27/8/2018 (451 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Playoffs. That’s where the University of Winnipeg Wesmen women’s soccer team wants to be at the end of the 2018 Canada West season.
"The goal is always to make playoffs, but we’re also aiming to keep improving because we play in the toughest conference in the country," said head coach Amy Anderson.
"We’re sort of going into this with nothing to lose."
The Wesmen missed out on a playoff bid last year, finishing with a 1-9-4 record. Their 14-match season kicks off on Sept. 8 against the University of Saskatchewan Huskies.
Anderson spoke with The Metro from Bemidji, Minn., last week where the team was competing in a NCAA Division II pre-season exhibition.
"I’m focusing on seeing different mixes of players and giving first-years an opportunity to play," she said.
"Our shooting has improved since last year and that’s something we’ve been working on all winter, as well as our fitness level."
The team finished 1-0-2 in the pre-season exhibition with a 5-0 win over the Minnesota-Crookston Golden Eagles, a 1-1 draw against the Minnesota State-Moorhead Dragons and a 1-1 draw against the Bemidji State Beavers.
The Wesmen added seven new players to the roster this year, which, according to Anderson, gives the team a good mix of experience and quality heading into the regular conference.
As team captain, Amy Clayton’s goal is to make sure the team is meshing well together on and off the field.
"We’re a pretty welcoming team, we always do a lot of activities together outside of practice," said Clayton, who is a defender in her third year with the Wesmen.
The week on the road has proved to be a bonding experience for the team.
"I think this week has brought us all together," she said. "People are getting to know each other and showing their personalities."
In addition to better shooting, Clayton says the team has quicker touches and better movement on the field thanks to playing futsal during the off-season.
"We’ve worked hard in our off-season… so I’m hoping we’ll show our talent on the field this season," she said.
Both Anderson and Clayton believe that making it to the playoffs this year will depend on the team’s determination and willingness to leave everything on the pitch at each game.
"At the end of the day if we can make sure we’re giving it our all every game, that’s probably one of the biggest things we can do this season," Clayton said.
The Wesmen’s first home game is Fri., Sept. 14, against the University of Fraser Valley Cascades.
Eva Wasney reports on arts, culture and life for the Winnipeg Free Press.