By: Dwayne Tingley
It's been 23 years since the Acadia Axewomen won an AUS Sport women's soccer championship and the last two seasons have ended with heart-breaking defeats.
Veteran centre Allie Scovil is confident the string of disappointments is going to end this weekend in Sydney, N.S.
"It's been very emotional for our team, but we had a very good season and we feel like we have a team that will challenge (for the championship)," said the 22-year-old biology major.
"We are determined to take our game to the next level," she added. "It's important to our whole team. It's important that we win this time."
The Axewomen have lost two finals and one semifinal during the last three seasons.
However, they go into this weekend's AUS women's soccer championship tournament, hosted by the two-time defending champion Cape Breton University Capers, as the top seed.
The Axewomen finished first in the conference with a 9-0-3 record for 30 points, two ahead of the Capers, who posted a 9-2-1 slate. The Axewomen outscored their opponents 27-5.
"Our conference is very tough and there are lot of very good teams," said Scovil, who notched two goals and two assists during the regular season.
"The competition is so close that you have to be at your best every game," continued the native of Hubley, N.S. "If we keep our focus and play up to our potential, we can bring the championship back to Acadia. It's been too long since Acadia won it."
The Axewomen and Capers earned opening round byes in the championship, which begins Thursday, when the fifth-place UNB Reds (6-4-2) meet the fourth-place Dalhousie Tigers (6-3-3) at 11:30 a.m. and the third-place StFX X-Women (7-0-5) square off against the sixth-place Memorial Sea-Hawks (4-3-5) at 4:30 p.m.
The Axewomen will play their semifinal game on Friday at 11:30 a.m. and the Capers will play their semifinal at 4:30 p.m.
The conference final is scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m. Both finalists will advance to the U SPORTS national championship tournament Nov. 7-10 in Victoria. B.C.
Scovil said the recent history of daunting losses actually helped the Axewomen this season.
"We have a very short season so you have to treat every game individually and focus on one game at a time," she explained. "That kind of perspective made us a better team. We know what we have to do and we have to take it just one step at a time."
She also said the key success will be playing "Acadia soccer."
"Our game is keeping possession of the ball and every player sticking to her role on the team," Scovil said. "We will win when we play with a total team effort. We have strong goaltending, strong defensive play and some good scorers. We have good players on the bench and other good players watching in the stands. Everyone contributes something on our team."