The Hope Secondary Mustang girls had a tough start to their soccer season last week, with two talented Abbotsford schools shutting them out in convincing fashion.
Wednesday, the girls travelled to MEI, where the hosts scored perhaps seven goals against their guests, who scored none. Thursday, it was a 9-0 defeat at the hands of the hosting Abbotsford Traditional School squad.
“The girls take it pretty well,” said coach Jeremy. “I don’t think they go out with an expectation to win games. I told them the Traditional game would be one of the toughest of the season.”
The Mustangs were playing a lot of chase against their skilled opponents but Amanda Lancaster had a good chance to break the drought, late in the Thursday match.
“She pretty much took the ball down the entire field and the goalie engaged her and Amanda tripped over the goalie before she could get the shot off.”
Keeper, Erica McAllister had a ton of work in the game, playing a hybrid mix of goalie and extra defender. Usually a keeper will stay within her penalty area but McAllister is often outside the box, challenging the opponents to either make a play or give up the ball to the defenders.
“It would have been a lot more goals against, if Erica wasn’t out there and aggressive,” said Smith. “This is her second year playing in goal. Last year, I had to encourage her to get out of the net — but this year, it’s the opposite. She’s getting much better at reading the plays and knowing where to be.”
The team lost five key players to graduation last year and are in the midst of a rebuild; add to that the challenge of playing against opponents who have a lot of experience in community soccer leagues, some at the highest level.
Today, April 16, the girls host Chilliwack G.W. Graham at 3 o’clock. Monday, they host Abbotsford’s Rick Hansen Secondary, again at 3 p.m.
“We actually beat Hansen last year — but I hear they are stronger this season,” said the coach.
“I want to say a big thank-you for everyone that supported our pub night last Friday,” added Smith. “The girls pre-sold tickets and lots of businesses donated prizes for the silent auction.
“The girls were allowed to stay until 9 p.m., under the new liquor laws, so they helped with the auction and the 50/50 draw. We probably brought in about $1500, which will go toward travel for our tournaments in Merritt and Osoyoos.”