Two games into the 2023 season and the St. Clair women's soccer team has already tied last years win total. "Rookies are used to being the star of the show. Here you're coming in and sharing that time. They're buying in and that's what I'm really proud of." said head coach Steve Vagnini.
In 10 games last season the Saints went 2-7-1 scoring seven goals and allowing 21. So far after two games, a team with 16 first-year players listed on their roster has scored 11 goals and have not allowed a goal against. Defender Lily Collins points out why the team has gelled. "High school we played against each other. Half of us played together and pre-season, a lot of training together."
Collins says there are players on the team she absolutely despised playing against prior to landing on campus. There was always a respect for those players which has grown into great friendships. There was one in particular she is happy to call a teammate. "Her name is Victoria (Walsh). We played in the OFSAA final." said the Holy Names grad. "She was the quickest on their team and now I'm like I don't have to defend her."
The Saints won four out of five games during the pre-season including one game that changed the mindset of the team heading into the regular season. "We played Seneca and they came fifth at nationals last year. We played them our first scrimmage. We lost 3-2. Collings said. "We played them again a couple of weeks later and beat them 4-0. I feel like that boosted our confidence." Seneca is currently undefeated at 3-0 and dominating the East division having scored 21 goals.
The Saints hit the road to put their early season success to the test. They play at Redeemer Friday and Mohawk Saturday. Both teams are a combined 4-1-2. "They know exactly where we stand. We haven't proven anything yet. One game at a time. Redeemer is top 3 in Ontario. If that's not fuel for your fire." said Vagnini with his trademark smile.
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