By Ali Lee, Vikes Communications
The 2012-13 Vikes side will be without five graduating players including second-team CIS All-Canadian and Canada West goalkeeper of the year, Kaitlyn Williams. The young squad will rely heavily on fourth-year defensive veterans Chelsea Morton, Carly Krestanovich and Kyla Kirby.
“Kirby is in fourth year and came in to (training) camp very fit,” said Beecroft. “She will be strong for us in the center of the field and she has already taken on a leadership role on the squad.”
Despite the lack of returnees, the Vikes have several strong recruits fresh off of competing in July’s under-18 national championships. Goalkeeper Sheridan Goodmanson and defender Annie Walters-Shumka, both Victoria products, were a part of the B.C. team that captured the gold medal, while Andrea Jones, Amanda Kurianowicz, Amanda Watson and Mei Lin Davidson competed on additional teams at the tournament.
“We have a lot of midfielders and defenders,” explained Beecroft. “These are smart kids, though, and I actually think it’s our greatest gift. Your first line of offence is always defense and having defenders on the forward line may really help us.”
The Vikes will also boast junior national team member Kathleen Leahy, who was unable to compete last season due to injury. Leahy spent the past summer training and competing with the Canadian junior national team in Argentina and several countries throughout Europe. The homegrown defender and midfielder will head to Boston for the pre-season games but will miss the first weekend of Canada West action, as she will be competing in the Junior Pan American Championships, hosted in Guadalajara, Mexico from Sept. 10-23.
“If this this group just plays to the best of their ability, I believe we will be successful,” said Beecroft, who has led the Vikes to an impressive 11 national titles over the past 28 seasons.
The Vikes will start their pre-season campaign on Aug. 25 against Yale University.
The first regular season Canada West match will take place on Sept. 15 at the University of Calgary against the Dinos.