With the Thanksgiving weekend now over, the stretch drive has arrived for high school soccer programs for around the province.
For the Carlton Crusaders, their home tournament this weekend will serve as excellent tune-up for the team as they prepare to host the 3A provincial high school girls’ soccer championship on Oct. 26 and 27.
“Any extra time we can get on our home field is great,” Crusaders coach Alicia Georgeson said. “It really allows us to have another opportunity to fine tune everything before the provincials.
“We’re a hard working team but the biggest thing we want to get better on is our communication. We have a lot of different grades on the roster, so it’s important for us to have everyone know what they are doing out there to build up that consistency.”
Meanwhile, the St. Mary Marauders have to play their way in to the provincial championship discussion, as they’ll be squaring off with the Holy Rosary Raiders of Lloydminster for the final spot from the North Region next weekend.
“Right now we’re just waiting to find out if we’ll be the hosts for that tournament or if we have to travel to Lloydminster,” Marauders coach Jamie Zurakowski said.
“This is the time of the year where everything amps up for us, starting with the tournament that Carlton is hosting this weekend. The first part of the season is all about figuring out where everyone fits in as we try to get the best result possible.”
Although an early season tournament in Moose Jaw was cancelled due to a refereeing issue that has since been resolved, the Crusaders and Marauders have crossed paths at a tournament in Yorkton and an event hosted by St. Mary last month.
“We ended up playing each other in the third place game at both events,” Zurakowski said. “In Yorkton, the weather ended up being so bad that the game was called off after 20 minutes and declared a draw.
“Then we ended up going to penalty kicks at our home tournament and won that matchup. We know that we are pretty even against one another, and it’s also been good to get a chance to face teams from elsewhere and know what we can expect if we make it to the provincials.”
Like the Marauders, the Crusaders are also fielding a young roster this season and are hoping to build off of their tournament showings ahead of the provincials.
“A lot of the focus has been not just on building a good chemistry as a team, but getting everyone used to playing in certain roles,” Georgeson said.
“I think we’ve done quite well this year, even though we’ve only played in two tournaments up to this point, and I think we’re getting better and better as the year goes along.”