DAVID LARKINS, Wesmen Athletics
The Wesmen women's soccer team is now setting its sights on opening Canada West play after finishing the non-conference season with a 3-2 record following the conclusion of the Great Plains Challenge Saturday in Regina.
The Wesmen finished the tournament in the Queen City with a 1-2 record, scoring a 2-0 win over the host Cougars on Friday. The Wesmen dropped a 6-0 decision to MacEwan on Thursday and fell 4-1 to Thompson Rivers on Saturday. As a result, the Wesmen finished in fifth out of seven teams at the Challenge, ahead of Regina and winless Manitoba.
Winnipeg picked up victories last weekend at Wisconsin-Superior (7-0) and Minnesota-Duluth (2-1) to open its pre-season slate.
For head coach Amy Anderson, the Regina tournament was a chance to get a look at a variety of lineups and slot in a number of younger players into roles for some much-needed experience ahead of Canada West play. Defender Emma Friesen got her first career start on Thursday, defender McKaely Snider got her first career start against Regina, and keeper Madisyn Furber got her first career start against TRU. Also, freshman midfielder Olivia Martin made her debut against MacEwan after sitting out the American road trip due to injury.
"The last week was a great opportunity for us to bond and progress as a team," Anderson said. "We were able to a number of games that will help with our preparations moving forward."
Jamila Calvez, who returned to the team after a one-year absence, led the Wesmen in the pre-season with four goals in five games, including a penalty strike in the win against Regina -- which also was her 23rd birthday. Calvez also had the lone goal against TRU.
Sage Pang had the other goal on the weekend and closed out pre-season play with two tallies to her name.
The Wesmen now turn attention towards being fit and ready for a key home weekend that opens conference play Sept. 6-7. The Wesmen will host the Cougars on Sept. 6 and then welcome the Saskatchewan Huskies on Sept. 7. Both games will be at the Ralph Cantafio Soccer Complex at 7 p.m.