July 14th, 2024

Kodiak women’s soccer aim for nationals berth at league championship

By Lethbridge Herald on October 26, 2023.

Herald File photo Lethbridge College Kodiaks’ Raeleen Vanden Dungen goes flying while battling for a loose ball with Red Deer Polytechnic Queens’ Kayla Yeo during ACAC women’s soccer action at Servus Sports Centre outdoor field earlier this season.

By Justin Seward

Lethbridge Herald

The Lethbridge College Kodiaks’ women’s soccer team are heading into the ACAC championship this weekend in Edmonton on a high after coming off of the program’s best regular season finish ever with an 11-1 record.

The Kodiak women’s team finished first place and had a bye into the semi-final and will play Keyano College at 12:30 p.m. today.

“So we’re playing for a medal for sure this weekend,” said Michael Racz, Kodiaks soccer assistant coach.

“So, that’s obviously a positive for the program. Like I said I haven’t been involved for the last couple of years. So I just kind of rejoined this year. But they’ve had some successes in bronze medal games and the hope is that this year we’re taking that next step and going to nationals. That’s been the goal since the beginning. So this is an exceptional team. It’s got a lot of depth to it because we’ve had some injuries and we’ve continued to just roll forward and get the results that we needed.”

Racz thinks the team’s strength will be their character.

“It hasn’t been an easy year kind off the field for the team,” said Racz.

“I think that’s kind of brought us together on the field. So I think it’s the character that we’ve continued to put the work in and the practices of the energy and the positivity, and the attitudes of the girls in practice have continued throughout the whole season. I think that’s why we’ve seen the success that we’ve had because everybody’s bought into the vision and everybody’s continued to fight for that goal of trying to make it to nationals.”

Coaches has reinforced principles to the players over the last number of weeks.

“We’re trying to make sure that everybody’s on the same page and I think that we got there quite early and we’ve just kind of continued to do that,” said Racz.

“We look to keep possession and play the ball forward. We’ve got some quick players on the outsides that can take advantage of other teams and we just continue to stick that game plan.”

Racz will look to rely on local product Nikki Stahl to lead the way at  the championship.

“Nikki Stahl is kind of the heart and soul of the team,” said Racz.

“She’s in the midfield, she’s on a mission this year and again I think that ties back to that, like I said this goal that we started with. She’s bought into that and she’s pushing the team forward through not only the leadership she shows on the field, but off the field as well.”

The Kodiak men’s team’s season came to an end on Thursday after a 6-0 loss to NAIT  in their championship quarter-final match.

Fans can follow along at http://www.acac.ab.ca under women’s soccer in the championships tab.

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