By Chris Johnston
Ryerson aims to stop its never-ending winless string
Every year around this time, women’s soccer coaches and players say they are optimistic about the team’s chances. Then they promptly take to the field and lose every time. But for fourth-year midfielder Isabel Champbell is going one step further this year, saying the team will “definitely” break its multiple OUA schedule which begins Saturday against Waterloo in Scarborough.
A sign of improvement came two weekends ago when the team tied Nippissing University, 1-1, in its only exhibition match – its first tie against a university team since 1998. “Our skill has gone up considerably this season,” Campbell said. “It is a really strong crew and everyone is in good shape. It’s a lot stronger than any of the team’s that I’ve played for at Ryerson.”
That wouldn’t take much. The Rams have not won a game on in more than four seasons. The streak is so long, no one in the Ryerson sports community knows exactly when the team’s last win was. Last year the lady Rams did not score a goal until the seventh game of their 10-game season. They finished with only two goals and allowed 48, en route to a 0-10-0 year.
But Campbell said that many problems that have plagued the women’s team in the past are gone. “Personally, I’ve had lots of injuries through the years and played through them,” Campbell said. “To put that much effort into it and see that not everybody else was, got really frustrating. There were players on the team who didn’t pull their weight.” But this year, she said, the team doesn’t have any superstars that will carry big egos. “This year we have a group of really compatible personalities,” she said. “We’re very cohesive.”
Coach Jon Sanderson, now in his fourth year at the helm, is not just trying to break the losing streak, but to take his team out of the cellar of the four team OUA central-south division. “I don’t think we’ll go undefeated,” he said. “But if our defence keeps our goals against down like I believe they’ll be able to do, and we get some timely scoring, I hope to be challenging for a playoff spot come early October.” As one of only two fourth-year players, Campbell is expected to lead the nine rookies on the roster.
“There are strong leadership expectations being placed on me,” Campbell, a fourth-year fashion marketing student said. Sanderson believes his rookies will make an impact on this year’s team. “I am expecting good things found from defender Samantha Doiron,” Sanderson said. “She will be key in cutting our goals against down from last season.” The Rams game on Saturday starts at 1 p.m. at Birchmount Stadium. The next day they travel to Waterloo, Ont. for a game against the Wilfred Laurier University Golden Hawks.