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Training camp to determine final lineup of women’s soccer team

With two of their players returning from the World Universiades with injuries and the loss of at least six veteran players to graduation, the University of Ottawa’s women’s soccer team maintains an unusually high spirit. Ranked sixth nationally and placing bronze in the 2010 Ontario University Athletics (OUA) Final Four tournament, these Gees (12-1-3) are determined to finish first in the playoffs this season.

That said, head coach Steve Johnson doesn’t have his head in the clouds.

“I hope that they can see that it won’t be easy to achieve success,” he explained in an email to the Fulcrum. “The team will need the contribution of every player to win the OUA title and go to nationals. Pride and seniority may have to be sacrificed to fulfill our potential.”

The team is currently undergoing a strenuous training camp after which six to eight rookies will be welcomed as official members of the Garnet and Grey.

“The team has not been finalized yet,” said Johnson. “We have 27 invited into training camp, and then we have kept several players from our walk-on tryouts in the early part of camp. I expect we will have six to eight new players on the team, [and] it is certain that [they] will play important roles in the upcoming season.”

The Gees will focus on their back line during the start of the season in order to integrate the new players into the lineup, while working to create scoring opportunities on the field.

“We do not have a ‘natural’ goal scorer. We will have to look at a team approach to scoring and not waste our chances in games. The team will need to adopt good finishing habits in every player,” said Johnson.

Last year, the women’s soccer team made it to the OUA semifinals and suffered a heartbreaking defeat with a final score of 2-1 to the fifth nationally ranked Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks. The team rebounded with a 2-1 win against the McMaster Marauders to win third place in the OUA.

Despite all the uncertainty surrounding the roster, Johnson is confident the blend of rookie and veteran talent will be the team’s strength and that the Gees will rise to the challenge at the season opener on Sept. 3 against the University of Toronto Varsity Blues.

“I hope they realize that we have enough [talent] to be as good as any Gee-Gees team of the past,” he said.

-Katherine DeClerq