LAC LA BICHE - Friday’s season home-openers against the visiting NAIT OOKs resulted in double losses for the Portage College Voyageurs men’s and women’s soccer teams.
The first match of the evening got underway at 5 p.m. in front of a small crowd at the Bold Center sports fields. To celebrate the first home game of the short Alberta Colleges Athletics Conference season, fans were treated to a free bbq burger supper served up by members of Voyageur sports teams. On the field however, it was the Ooks who served up the main course, beating the Voyageur women 4-0 and the men 7-0.
Lizzy keeps it close
In the women's game, the the 4-0 result could have been much worse. Voyageur goalie Elizabeth "Lizzy" McLeod faced 21 shots, turning many of her 17 saves away with dives, kick-saves and sharp reflexes. At the other end of the field, the Voyageur attack generated only one shot on net in 90 minutes of play.
The Ooks win bumped NAIT into first place in the ACAC women’s soccer North Division while the Voyageurs were relegated to third place in the standings. The Portage women's team now has a three-game record of one win, one loss and one tie.
Kika Mukuninwa, head coach of the Portage College men’s and women’s soccer teams, said despite the loss, the women worked well as a team against a very tough opponent.
“It was a good game for them, probably the best I’ve seen them play,” Mukuninwa told Lakeland This Week.
He went on to say that along with six or seven players still recovering from injuries and not quite ready to play 90 minutes on the pitch, the team is also missing one of its key attackers, veteran player Chloe Gauthier-Schaub.
The Voyageur men's team has a lot of rookie talent, and it showed — good and bad — in their 7-0 loss to the Ooks.
Mukuninwa says the young squad has several first-year players, and was outplayed by NAIT — but they didn't give up. He said the loss, the team's first in the first three games of their regular season, is a lesson-builder.
“Some guys didn’t play at this level yet,” he said, adding that this year’s Portage roster has a handful of 17 and 18-year-olds who need to gain more playing experience, particularly against top teams like NAIT.
The Voyageur men's loss drops Portage from first place in the ACAC standings to second. The NAIT win moves the Ooks into first place of the North Division.
The Voyageurs hoped to rebound from their Friday night losses with another set of weekend games on Sunday night in Fort McMurray against the Keyano College Huskies.
Going into Sundays games, the women's Huskies team had a 2-0 record on their season start and were sitting in second place in the standings, just two points ahead of the Voyageurs. On the men's side, the Keyano squad went into Sunday's match win-less in their first two games of the season and sitting in fifth place of the North Division, five points behind the Voyageurs.
Lakeland This Week will have the results of the Sunday games online in the Sports section of www.lakelandtoday.ca
The next home games for the Voyageurs take place on Sunday, Sept. 24 when they face the visiting Lakeland College Rustlers. Game time for the women is 12 p.m. at the Bold Center fields. The men go on the field at 2 p.m.