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Weekend Preview: Season opens for Tigers soccer

Soccer, football, lacrosse, rugby launch campaigns

Women's soccer opens. Photo of pre-season soccer by Pau Balite.
Women's soccer opens Saturday at 1 p.m. vs. UPEI. Photo by Pau Balite.

Correction: In an earlier version of this story, the UPEI Panthers women’s soccer team were described as defending AUS champions. They were AUS runners-up in 2010, although they did finish first in the regular season.  The Gazette regrets the error.

 

Let’s get this show started, shall we?

The Tigers varsity calendar gets off to a roaring start this Saturday as the men’s and women’s soccer teams open their regular season campaign back-to-back at Wickwire Field.

The women get underway first at 1 p.m. with what is sure to be an interesting matchup involving a young Dal roster and the UPEI Panthers.

Although the Tigers were only a point behind the Panthers in the final regular season standings last year, a gutted Tigers outfit, minus fifth-years and AUS first team all-stars Jeanette Huck and Kate MacDonald, will be hard pressed to steal three points from a more experienced UPEI lineup. The Panthers sit tenth in the national rankings upon the season opener and are led by CIS coach of the year Mike Redmond.

Dal will hope to expand on a respectable showing in preseason, losing 1-0 to Saint Mary’s and drawing Acadia 0-0 in a doubleheader last week. On Sunday they bested the Huskies 1-0.

For the men, they will face a Panthers lineup which sat in the eighth position in the AUS last season. Don’t expect UPEI to put in much of a scare Saturday at 3:15 p.m. after a preseason that saw them nearly tumble to Holland College, an ACAA club. The Panthers squeaked by 1-0. The Tigers though can no longer turn to captain Ross Hagen for help, but they are retaining the sensational keeping of fifth-year goaltender Ben Ur.

The men and women hope to add another win to the column Sunday when Mount Allison comes to town. The eighth-place Mounties have scheduled an appearance against the women at 1 p.m. The men also shouldn’t face much of a challenge at 3:15 p.m. when the Mounties, owners of a 2-10-1 standing last season, take to Wickwire.

Before any soccer action gets underway, Husky Stadium at Saint Mary’s opens the AUS football circuit Friday at 7 p.m. by welcoming Mount Allison. The four-time defending champion Huskies should be successful against a Mounties squad that held a .500 winning percentage last year. Mount Allison will hope to do much better than last Saturday’s exhibition match when they fell 23-0 to bottom-feeders St. FX.

If trekking to Huskies Stadium isn’t of interest, university sports fans can stick to Wickwire following the two soccer games Saturday to witness the Tigers lacrosse team also open their campaign. They host St. FX at 6 p.m.

The Tigers will attempt to push aside any memories of their defeat to Saint Mary’s in the Maritime University Field Lacrosse League championship last November, which spoiled any chances of a title three-peat for Dal.

Wanderer’s Field is another site for campus sports this Saturday. After a 60-3 exhibition demolishion of the Huskies Wednesday in front of about 2,000 people under the lights at Wickwire, SMU will hope to avenge their embarrassing defeat against Dal in the 2 p.m. regular season opener.

While the cross-town rivals will be battling in Division 1 play, the Division II contest beforehand at noon may be just as exciting as Dal faces King’s College. The two schools will finally play each other in a meaningful regular season match now that King’s has reentered the Rugby Nova Scotia association after a four-year stint in the ACAA.

King’s women’s soccer is also in action this weekend. Saturday at 2 p.m. They open their campaign by welcoming Crandall University in what should be an easy win for King’s. On Sunday league champion Holland College visits for a 1 p.m. game.

Ian Froese
Ian Froese
Ian was the Gazette's Editor-in-chief for Volume 146. He was the Sports Editor for Volumes 145 and 144.
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