The new season could not have started start soon enough for the Brock Badgers women’s soccer team. On the surface, a 2017 record of 5-9-2 that placed them seventh in the OUA West division and short of a playoff spot, is something the team would like to move on from in general. When you consider the context of that record, then it’s even more understandable why this team is chomping at the bit to redeem themselves.
Last season, the women’s team was forced to forfeit the results of four of their first five games due to the participation of an ineligible player. Head Coach Kevin Trethowan described the situation as an administrative error out of the teams control. If it weren’t for the removal of the original results from those games, the Badgers would’ve qualified for a postseason position with a 6-6-4 record. Entering his second-year as the lead man for the team, Trethowan understands it’s time to move on from the past.
“It was extremely disappointing, but it has given the players a taste of success and they are determined that this year we will go one step further,” said Trethowan.
There is a basis for the optimism of this desired step, the Badgers’ second half of the 2017 season ended with a strong 4-2-2 stretch. The final few games showed positivity can be built upon after their coach’s first full season as the bench boss at Brock.
“It’s night and day from last season to be honest,” Trethowan said of his growth as a coach in the past year. “I have had an entire year with many of the players on our current roster so I have a greater understanding of how they play. These players have adjusted to a new culture, new system and style of play, which greatly helps when integrating first-years into the squad.”
The Badgers have added 14 new women to their squad in 2018. Drawing talent everywhere from the Ontario Player Development League stream, to walk-ons. All things considered, Trethowan said he is pleased with the new faces joining the team.
Given the large group newly entering the fold, it would be understandable for there to be growing pains present when it comes to the team’s cohesiveness. At least in the early stages, the issues, if any, appear manageable.
“We’re already in a much better position than we were at this time last year,” said Trethowan. “Our preseason performances against OUA East teams, who both made playoffs, is very encouraging for us.”
Coming off of their best season since 2009 (7-4-3) the Badgers are in a good position to succeed. With redemption on their minds, Trethowan understands this opportunity and has high hopes for his squad.
“Our minimum expectation this season is to make playoffs,” he said. “We certainly have the talent to [do] more than push for the playoffs,” said Trethowan.
The women showed 2018 could be a successful year for them following the opening weekend of their season. The Badgers started play this past Friday at home, beating the Waterloo Warriors 2-1. It was a goal in extra-time by Brianne DeSa that sealed the deal for the Badgers. DeSa also created the opportunity for the Badgers first goal, which was headed in by a Waterloo player.
On Saturday, the team travelled to Laurier and picked up a 1-0 victory. First-year transfer, Sydney Sica scored the lone goal for Brock.
Goaltender Marilena Spagnolo, OUA Second Team All Star in 2017, was spectacular for the Badgers – stopping 11 of the 12 shots she faced over the weekend.
The Badgers will get set for a couple road games this upcoming weekend. On August 31, they’ll be in Windsor to play the Lancers, followed by a match with the Western Mustangs on September 1. They’ll return home the following weekend to host the Guelph Gryphons.