Young Cougars hungry
Hodl and crew need to step up for a title run
by Bryce Forbes
Karlee Hodl had a “welcome-to-college” moment she will likely never forget.
In her first-ever college game, the fresh faced 18-year-old striker from Calgary sniped two goals for the women’s soccer team, pacing them to a 3-1 win over SAIT in the season opener.
“It was really exciting, it was a lot of fun,” she said. “I was a little nervous going into the game, but it turned out well.”
For the freshman from Queen Elizabeth High School, it was exactly what she needed to show in her first game.
“I just want to keep on scoring more goals, that’s what I hope to bring to the team,” she said with a little laugh.
In fact, her coach hopes it’s only the beginning of things to come.
“Last year, we scored 50 goals, Karlee’s got two for us so far. If she can score 10 more that would be beneficial for us,” said head coach Tino Fusco.
“Twenty more, that would be fantastic,” he added with a laugh.
She will be one of the keys for the team moving forward.
“Having scouted Karlee and recruiting her, she’s got some great pace and she can score goals with both feet.”
Fusco said Hodl will be one of a number of freshman girls that will need to step up during the season to continue on with the Cougars’ dominance in the ACAC soccer ranks.
Last season, there were high hopes after the team finished a perfect 10-0 record in the regular season, something that has only been done one other time in school history.
However, Fusco called losing in the semifinals a disappointment and eventually earning a bronze-medal finish.
Since then, they have lost a number of key players including fifth-year captains Chelsey Ruckdashel and Ashley Dixon, all-star Meghan MacDonald and 2010 team MVP Corrine Guichon.
In fact, only 11 of the 28 players from last season are returning for the year, meaning a lot of freshmen will likely play key roles in the upcoming season.
“This year is a little bit younger, but it’s exciting so far,” Fusco said. “We’ve done quite well in league play and that’s exciting.”
Despite that, he said he could already hear the team chemistry coming together.
“I like the group. As you can see or at least hear in the background, the chatter is nice to see.”
Through their first three games, the Cougars sit 2-1 after dominating Lakeland 4-0 before falling to Red Deer College 2-1, both games on the road.
“It will be a good test for us away to see if we can get some good points away,” said the coach before the games.
The important question moving forward remains ‘is this a rebuilding or a retooling season for the Cougars?’
“Do we have a gold medal in us this year, I don’t know,” said Fusco. “I think one game at a time is how I approach things and if we can get back to 10-0 like last year, great.
“If not, we’ll learn from our mistakes and move on.”
The home opener for the Cougars is on Sept. 24 at 12 p.m. against Medicine Hat College. The athletic department is giving away an iPad to one lucky fan.