© Katie Brickman
Vanier's keeper Emily Reidy (left) gives directions as her teammate Michaela Sykora tries to defend against Brittany Preston from Saskatoon Evan Hardy during their match at Soccerfest at Smith Field on Friday afternoon. Times-Herald photo by Katie Brickman
It is all about a different perspective this year for the Vanier Spirits.
“We went into this year wanting to make a cultural change. We just wanted to bring in a bunch of positives. Nothing is going to be given to us and everything is going to be earned. These girls have responded to that message, which is fantastic,” stated Vanier’s coach Jason Jones. “It takes a lot of work to remain positive in the face of adversity and these girls have just embraced the whole cultural change. It has just been a wonderful experience so far.”
This young team did face some challenges in their opening day at the 13 annual Soccerfest on Friday afternoon.
They opened with a 6-1 loss to Yorkton Sacred Heart in the morning and a 1-0 loss to Saskatoon Evan Hardy in the afternoon. They also lost to Balgonie Greenall in their third match.
“We had a very small group the first day, but now we have settled in with 14 players for the season,” explained Jones. “This is a challenge playing five games in a couple days. But, the attitude the girls have brought has been fantastic.”
Throughout the match against the Evan Hardy Souls, the Spirits played strong defensively and were pleased with holding a bigger school to just one goal.
Vanier’s keeper, Emily Reidy was solid in net and made some outstanding saves in the second half to keep the Spirits in the game.
“Emily said this morning that she would play goal and she was fantastic,” said Jones. “She stood on her head this game and was just unbelievable with some of the saves she made. The girls just fed off the energy and the support for her was really great.”
The goal for the Spirits in this tournament is to come out every game and try their hardest. It isn’t necessarily about winning games, but rather finding their groove.
“We’ve decided to work on our team shape. We have introduced a new system of play and we are bringing everyone along at the same pace. We’ve asked the girls to be very flexible in the fact that we might be moving them around from position to position just to see where it is comfortable,” stated Jones. “For us, at the end of it, playing five games in two days is not about the winning or losing, but it is about finding some position for players and build on that for the rest of the season.”
With three losses and down some players due to other commitments, the Spirits never stopped competing at Soccerfest and that is all the coaching staff could ask of them.
“It takes a lot of work to remain positive in the face of adversity and these girls have just embraced the whole cultural change,” said Jones. “The culture of this team is that despite all the distractions in life, when they come here, we focus on the game and goal.”
In other opening day Soccerfest action, Peacock lost 3-0 to Notre Dame in the morning match. They finished third in Pool 1 with a record of 1-2.
In Pool 4 action, the Central Cyclones lost 6-1 to Prince Albert St. Mary in the morning game. They also finished third in their pool with a record of 1-2.
The soccer action continues this morning with semifinals in all pools. The fourth place pool and third place pool games begin at 9 a.m. at Canada Games Fields and Smith Fields, respectively. The second place pool and first place pool games start at 11 a.m. at both fields.
The championship game will be held at 3 p.m. at Smith East Field.
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