Double-dose of history?
by Blaine Meller
There’s an old adage in sport: records are meant to be broken. It would seem Gillian Doubleday has heard this as well. Doubleday, playing for the Cougars Women’s Soccer team, has already secured one record this year, that being top spot on the Cougars’ all-time scoring list. With 12 goals in seven games this season, not including an Oct. 6 match against SAIT, Doubleday has notched 36 goals with the Cougars. That’s the first record.
One down, one to go. Doubleday’s 36 goals with the Cougars, along with the four she scored for SAIT in 2007-08, leave her only six shy of the all-time Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) mark, which is currently held by Lauren Leismeister who potted 46 goals in 38 career games for Medicine Hat College.
“I am aware of it.It is in the back of my mind,” said Doubleday of the ACAC record.
After the Oct. 6 match with SAIT, the Cougars will close out the season with two road games against Lakeland and Red Deer. So far, the squad sits with a perfect 7-0 record, having scored 32 goals while yielding only four. Doubleday credits a number of things, including always-improving team chemistry.
“I think we’ve found a lot of chemistry up front for sure, especially with myself and Meghan (MacDonald). We really play well off of each other,” she said. “We really are all about team and what our overall goal is, winning provincials and going to nationals.”
On the field, Doubleday is an intense competitor. In the second half of the Cougars’ 3-0 win over Lethbridge, Doubleday was pulled by Head Coach Tino Fusco, a move she was visibly upset with. “Tino knows how I am,” she said. Translation: Doubleday is a player who likes to compete, loves to score and be a contant offensive threat, and wants to win. Fusco agrees. “We’ve had this conversation before, where she has wanted to play the full 90 minutes,” he said.
“We looked for Gillian to have a good season. She’s been a little streaky actually putting balls into the net, but she has created a lot of chances,” said Fusco, citing one particular game where Doubleday had two goals and eight chances. Doubleday is currently in her third stint with the Cougars, having played here previously in the 2003-04 and 2005- 06 seasons. Her focus and ambitions are different this time around.
“Back then I was in Open Studies. I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do. I was here basically to play soccer,” she said. Now, through her work at Wood’s Homes, an organization that helps troubled youth and their families, Doubleday is pursuing an education and career in social work. And she continues to help drive the Cougars toward their ultimate goals, a provincial and national title. Doubleday knows the challenges ahead, admitting that nothing is a foregone conclusion at this point, especially with the strength they will face in the ACAC’s northern division opponents. Concordia University, the top team in the north division at 7-0-1, was the top- ranked team in the CCAA as of Sept. 28. Mount Royal is the next highest ranked Alberta squad at No. 9. Doubleday knows Concordia, and ACAC Championship hosts NAIT, will be tough tests.
“I think it’s going to be a mental thing. I know we have the skill to do it,” she said. “The north’s top teams are a little stronger than what chances are good if we’re able to put everything together.”
Part of getting ready for the playoff challenges is to continue to gel as a team and get injured players healed. Doubleday herself was walking gingerly after the Lethbridge game, describing the injury as a sore achilles. Doubleday also knows the challenges she will face in pursuit of the ACAC scoring record, especially in wanting to set the record this season.
“Tino knows about it, but I think I’m thinking about it more than anybody, especially with how close I am now.”