Friday, 30 May 2014

KUSC Women making their mark in Ottawa-Carleton

Last year, Bob Machin moved his top-level Kingston women's team from the Ontario Women's Soccer League (OWSL) to the Ottawa-Carleton Soccer League (OCSL) into the premier division, where they finished in third place behind the Falcons Fury and Gloucester, twelve points off the pace of the two leading teams.

After an off-season requiring replacements of almost half of the team's players, the team is ready to compete for the OCSL Women's Premier title in 2014.

Playing their home games out at the brand new John Machin turf field off of Highway 15, Bob Machin feels that there will be more competition this season as compared to 2013. He felt that the level of competition last year was a bit weaker than the OWSL when they played there in 2012, with only the top four teams being able to compete in the OCSL 2013, but fully expects that the level of competition will have increased this year, with the top six all being able to win the title in 2014.

With only ten of eighteen players returning from the 2013 team, Bob and his coaching staff of Marco Giacomello (Queen's Women's assistant coach), Dimitri Senis, and Bernie Harpell have had to do a fair bit of recruiting, and they've tried to focus on local players wherever possible. This goal is succeeding as eight of the team's players are home grown and the entire U21 Eastern Regional Soccer League (ERSL) team that Machin and Harpell run partly as a reserve squad is entirely from the local district.

Some of these recruits include goalkeeper Nicolle Gaudet, St. Lawrence College's starting goalkeeper this past season and the SLC women's basketball 2013-14 MVP, who is expected to be the team's regular goalkeeper for the season. She joins three other St Lawrence players in Maureen Frost, Jessie Pennock, and Hailey Perrault, who will be attending Carleton University this fall. They are joined by eight current and former players from the Queen's women's team: Brittany Almeida, Jessie Deboer, Micah Vermeer, Britt Snell, Alyssa Fenuta, Jackie Tessier, Kelli Chamberlain, and Riley Fillion. Kelli will also be helping out as a player/coach for the 2014 season. Other players of note include Kelly Avalos from the Algonquin Thunder and Laurentian's Sarah Sanford, who finished third in OCSL scoring last year.

The age range on the team is between 19 and 25, and the coaching staff has been working to recruit younger players, especially those near the end of their high school careers, to give the team a strong foundation moving forward. To this end, they have been working to split players between the two squads so that both are strong. Some of the players that will be playing with the ERSL U21 team this year under Bernie Harpell's coaching include Mary MacDonald, Kaitlyn Balfour, Miriam Franchetto, Mallory McQueen, Trent's Kelsey White, RMC's Jennifer Bryant, and high school students Amanda Tibbutt from Sydenham and Madison Norman from Holy Cross. Shoshanna Lewis will be backstopping the squad as their 2014 goalkeeper while Rachel Colarossi, forced to retire from playing due to concussion issues, will be starting her coaching career as an assistant for the team, bringing her university experiences as a valuable teaching tool.

On the July 26th weekend, Giacomello and Harpell will be splitting their squads to play in two tournaments here in Kingston, the 29th Annual Kingston Outdoor Senior Soccer Tournament and a CFB Kingston based women's tournament being played at the McNaughton and Hospital fields on the base.

The team will play all of their home games on Sunday afternoons at 4pm out at the John Machin turf field and their away games on Monday nights. Kingston plays their home opener is this Sunday afternoon at 4pm when they face Gloucester. Gloucester is coming off of a 7-0 win over the OSU Force and Kingston off of a 2-1 win over OISC Black on goals from Jessie Deboer on a free kick and Kelli Chamberlain late to clinch the victory after giving up a penalty in the opening minutes of the game.

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