Two Prince Albertans influential in early Huskies’ soccer success

Gary Pearson
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--PRINCE ALBERT-- With two Prince Albertans playing an integral role, the women’s University of Saskatchewan (UofS) soccer team is off to their most successful start in over a decade.

“We are feeling good, we wanted the goal for this year to make the playoffs,” said Huskies head coach Tom LaPointe. “I think the road trip in B.C. was a serious indication that we are serious about doing it this year.”

Elizabeth Hudon - scorer of three goals in the first four matches of the season - is deliberate in front of goal, often finishing with composure and lethal precision.

“Its amazing, if you look at the history over 27 years there is no one even close to her in terms of the number of goals she has scored,” said LaPointe, whose first recruit five years ago has paid unfathomable dividends. “She was my first recruit, and the most important one.”

Hudon arrived on campus in 2007 and has bulged the old onion bag with consummate ease ever since. Hudon, a native of Prince Albert, sits atop the Canada West division with an inconceivable 39 goals since her arrival, 11 goals clear of any rival.

But the fifth-year veteran need not boast, as she lets her play on the pitch speak volumes. Off the pitch, she proceeds in a soft-spoken, modest manner.

“I just think that is my job on the team, it’s to score goals. So really I think I am just doing my job,” said the 22-year-old out-and-out striker. “Everyone else is doing their (jobs) to get me the ball.

“I get the glory but other people have to do the work for it.”

The talisman, in four full seasons with the U of S, has yet to qualify for the playoffs but is intent this season on rectifying the one blemish on her collegiate record. And the opportunity is there for the taking with a well-balanced squad, embodying a medley of youth and experience.

Erica Parenteau familiarized herself with collegiate life by living with Hudon for the entirety of training camp.

“It was really good to get to stay with Liz, especially in training camp, coming in as a rookie you don’t really know what to expect, so she obviously knew what its like. So that was very helpful,” said the 17-year-old.

Parenteau has managed to crack the starting lineup and is a regular fixture on the pitch from kickoff, a feat few accomplish.

“She is brand new but she has really made a statement that she wants to be in the starting 11, so we definitely rewarded her with that,” said LaPointe.

And the left-back has adjusted to soccer’s premier level like a chameleon adapts to its surrounding environment.

“It was pretty nerve-wracking at the beginning,” said the technically gifted left-back. “You don’t really know what to expect because everyone is older than you. But once I got used to it and played – it’s good, it’s a higher level and it’s more fun.”

LaPointe employs a system often used in today’s modern game. He gets the wing-backs involved in as many offensive forays as possible, enabling Parenteau to push forward and influence play on both sides of the ball.

An exciting prospect for a player whose in the infancy of her collegiate career, with four remaining years of eligibility after the culmination of the current campaign.

The top four of 10 teams obtain a berth into the playoffs, a berth the Huskies women’s program has been starved of since 1999-2000, when the U of S hosted the event.

After losing to Calgary in the first match of the season, the Huskies have reeled off three consecutive victories versus Lethbridge, Fraser Valley and the University of Victoria.

A stern test awaits as the team as it hosts the University of British Columbia and Trinity Western University on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

Organizations: PRINCE ALBERT, University of Saskatchewan, UofS Canada West division University of Victoria University of British Columbia and Trinity Western University

Geographic location: B.C., Calgary, Fraser Valley

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