Nathaniel Marksman, Sports Reporter
The Humber women’s soccer team ended its outdoor season on a sour note. It was a powerful and domineering team during the regular season, but were stopped in the semis to the Seneca Sting.
And now with the outdoor season behind them, the soccer team now looks forward to sealing a fourth championship at indoor regionals.
Expectations were not met as they lost in their semifinal match against Seneca Sting 2-1 post-season. The girls fought hard but came up short when Seneca’s Sona Makulova scored the winning goal ending the Hawks’ journey to victory.
Captain Rebecca Spratt said “it was pretty devastating and heart breaking,” explaining that putting in all that effort to win a gold medal and coming out with nothing is quite painful.
The Hawks settled fora bronze after defeating Sheridan Bruins 2-0.
In 2018 the team’s outdoor season was a clean record of all victories straight up to post-season. The 2019 pre-season, however, began with one win and two loses against McMaster Marauders and Seneca.
The team won six of their nine matches, tying to Fanshawe Falcons and Mohawk Mountaineers, and losing to Niagara Knights during the regular season.
Another statistic, however, showed the Hawks offence changed last year, scoring 29 goals in total, about half of the 2018 count of 52 goals. Other noticeable stats from last season’s included 21.1 shots per game, 0.89 goals against per game and 3.22 goals per game, compared to 2018 numbers over 10 games: 27.1 shots per game, zero goals against per game and 5.2 goals per game.
But moving forward, the Hawks are now focused on maintaining its three-year win streak at indoor regionals and keeping their title as champions.
“Indoor is a very different approach than the outdoor season, indoor there is a lot of pressure on you at all times and you need to physical because there is a lot of contact,” assistant coach Jose Caro said.
Head coach Mauro Ongaro has his sights on the regional gold medal as well but understands that a secured victory is only as good as the team’s performance.
“Our goal is always to win gold but it’s a process, you can’t go so far ahead of yourself and your expectations,” Ongaro said. “It’s a cliché we say but one game at a time, you always want to see improvement.”
Practices have already begun and new changes are in the works as the team trains until the next indoor tournament. Aside from the repetitive shooting, passing and ball control practices the coaches seek to add a new regimen through fitness testing this year, including a VO2 max test – a cardio test on a treadmill – and high-performance training.
But while the veterans are training and playing indoors, new girls are now jockeying to be recruited for the 2020 outdoor team. The coaches are scouting high school players who will be starting their post-secondary education this fall. It’s a few months earlier than usual, as the process routinely begins during the summer break.
Ongaro said the women’s varsity team will be hosting the provincial championship tournament this year and the determination to win gold at home added fuel to the team’s head start on early recruiting.
“We are hoping the new players buy into the culture of we’re going to work hard and we always will,” Caro said.