Cougars soccer programs win big
Josh Werle, Sports Editor
The Mount Royal University (MRU) Cougars soccer programs had an impeccable 2022 season, with the men’s squad going unbeaten in the regular season and capturing a Bronze medal in the playoffs, while the women’s team more than doubled their goals and wins statistics from their previous season. Although these achievements are all due to the teamwork that the Cougars athletes have displayed on the field, individual players were also recognized for their outstanding contributions.
Canada West Student-Athlete Community Service Award
The U SPORTS Student-Athlete Community Service Award, is a designation given to “a student-athlete who best exhibits outstanding achievement in the classroom, on the field of play and as a member of his/her community.” This year, Cougars soccer goalkeeper Sterling Kerr received this award for maintaining a 4.0 GPA at MRU, being a peer tutor, mentor and volunteer, as well as his involvement in the Cougars’ unbeaten run. Sterling’s commitment to both his team, and his community made him an incredible choice for an award of this magnitude.
1st Team All-Canadian
Kerr was also named to the 1st Team All-Canadian for his efforts during the U SPORTS season. Kerr tallied an impressive 59 saves with a 0.87 save percentage and a 0.519 GAA, the best statistics in his conference. Kerr was responsible for 10 out of the Cougars’ 11 victories this season, and helped the team reach the end of their regular season with zero losses on their record.
Also named to the 1st Team All-Canadian squad is defenseman Caden Rogozinski. Rogozinski was a defensive juggernaut for the Cougars squad, and helped mitigate the amount of shots that Kerr would have to face this season. Rogozinski was drafted by the Cavalry FC — a Canadian Premier League professional soccer team — in January of this year.
2nd Team All-Canadian
Mohamed El Gandour, one of the Cougars’ greatest offensive threats, was named to the 2nd Team All-Canadian squad. El Gandour led the Cougars’ team with eight goals and 20 points during the regular season. El Gandour also led the team in shots on goal, racking up 50 shots at the Cougars’ opposition this season.
Cougars rookie Jonathan Walter, who appeared and started in 15 games this season, has been named to the All-Rookie Team. Walter, who tallied three goals on 17 shots this season, had a very strong offensive presence for the Cougars.
On the women’s side, rookie Zyna Centeno was also named to the All-Rookie Team this year. Centeno tallied one goal and three assists throughout the regular season.
Second Team All-Star
Three of the Cougars’ Women’s soccer stars were designated to the Second Team All-Star — Sydney Danielewicz, Alexi Watson and goalkeeper Lizzy Knight. As the Cougars’ starting goalkeeper, Knight won six games and recorded two shutouts, ending the regular season with a stellar 0.806 save percentage.
Watson has been a longtime member of the Cougars’ soccer team, and was playing in her final year with the squad. She played and started in 15 games this season, recording 12 shots and five points during the team’s bounce-back year.
Danielewicz, also named to the Second Team All-Star squad, posted four goals, one assist and nine points this season. After leading her team last season during her rookie year, Danielewicz once again highlighted her talents in her sophomore appearance this year.
Canada West Coach of the Year
Tino Fusco, the Cougars’ women’s soccer coach, received the Canada West Coach of the Year honours. There are a total of 16 teams in the Canada West U SPORTS conference, of which Fusco and the Cougars’ were ranked 13th in a coaches preseason poll. After finishing last season near the bottom of the standings, expectations were evidently not as high. But after improving throughout the field, the Cougars locked up the first seed in the Canada West Prairie Division this year, and finished second in wins throughout the entire Canada West conference. Fusco’s guidance and strategy certainly helped this year’s women’s soccer team achieve greatness on and off the field.