Provincials a learning experience for Marauders soccer teams

Although they were unable to bring a medal back from this year’s SHSAA 5A soccer provincials, the experience of competing against the top high school teams in Saskatchewan is one that should bode well for the St. Mary Marauders boys’ and girls’ programs in the coming years.

“I said to our guys that it’s a long journey and it’s just starting for them, especially we have 13 Grade 9 players on this year’s team,” Marauders boys’ head coach Dale Regel said. “It was a great weekend for us down in Swift Current and we learned a lot of valuable lessons.”

“We have no graduating players from this year’s team, so it’s a neat situation to be in for us,” Marauders girls’ head coach Jamie Zurakowski added. “We can add to the depth that we already have instead of having to fill holes on our roster.”

The Marauders girls’ qualified for the consolation final in Saskatoon on Saturday, but their meeting with the Weyburn Eagles was cancelled due to poor field conditions.

“That’s the first I’ve ever seen anything like that happen in the 22 years that I’ve been coaching high school soccer,” Zurakowski said.

“They let us both go out for warmups and they were hoping that the players would be able to break up the ice that had built up on top of the turf. However, after 45 minutes, you couldn’t even tell that the girls had been out there and the refs said it was just too dangerous.”

After dropping a 2-1 affair to the Holy Cross Crusaders of Saskatoon in Friday’s quarter-final round, the Marauders bounced back later in the day with a 3-2 victory over the Campbell Tartans of Regina.

“The girls’ never quit against Campbell, even after they fell behind a couple of times,” Zurakowski said.

“During our chat before the second half, the girls talked about giving everything that they had as they didn’t want the season to end. They were pumped up about the finish to that game.”

Emily Lafreniere scored twice in the win over the Tartans, while Anna Puentespun found the back of the net in both games on Friday.

Meanwhile, the Marauders’ boys saw their season end Friday in Swift Current with a 4-0 loss to the St. Joseph Guardians in the quarter-final round and a 2-0 setback in a consolation semifinal match with the Miller Marauders of Regina.

“I was pretty happy with the way that we played in both games,” Regel said. “We had the scoring chances when we had the wind at our backs, but we just couldn’t capitalize on them and our opponents are were able to score on their opportunities.”

The Centennial Chargers of Saskatoon went on to win their third straight provincial boys’ championship with a 1-0 triumph over the Guardians on Saturday

The 5A girls’ provincial title will be decided on Thursday in Saskatoon between Holy Cross and St. Joseph.