EDMONTON – The 2012 Canada West women’s soccer season begins this weekend, with games on Friday night, Saturday and Sunday. With a growing conference comes and expanded playoff format, as eight teams will now make the post-season. Each team plays 12 regular season matches.

Here is a look at the 13 conference women’s soccer teams…


2011 conference record: 9-4-1, 3rd

2011 playoffs: 3-2 (CW silver, CIS 5th)

Last CW title: 2001

Last CIS title: 2001

CIS ranking: #5

CW ranking: #2

Key additions: Kelsey Mitchell (D), Kate Wilkinson (S), Fallon Dickie (D), Terri Kutryk (M)

Key returnees: Kelti Biggs (GK), Elise Emmott (M), Carleigh Miller (M), Amanda Black (S)

Key departure: Heather Lund (S)

EDMONTON – The University of Alberta Pandas soccer team were one of the best squads in Canada West in 2011, finishing with conference silver, and are poised to be division leaders in 2012 as well.

Liz Jepsen’s Pandas return mostly intact, including eight starters, from the team that finished third in conference play, second in the playoffs and fifth at the CIS championship tournament last year. The 2011 team also finished second in conference goals scored, and they were the third stingiest team in the conference in goals against.

Returning to the fold are fifth-years Elise Emmott (midfield), Carleigh Miller (midfield), Amanda Black (striker), as well as starting goalie Kelti Biggs, midfielder Darcie Kutryk, and starting defender Shalla Kadima. That is a group that contributed to Alberta’s 30 conference goals in 14 games last year, while combined to yield just 11 against.

However, the team will have to make-up the goals scored by graduated striker Heather Lund. The Red Deer-born striker, quite simply, was a goal scoring machine. In just three seasons of CIS play, Lund notched 28 conference goals which is the highest total in Pandas’ soccer history, and sixth best in the history of Canada West women’s soccer. In 2011, she notched 11 goals in 14 games.

New players that could have impacts right away are Kelsey Mitchell (D), Kate Wilkinson (S), Fallon Dickie (D) and Terri Kutryk. Mitchell is transfer from the 2011 ACAC champion, and CCAA finalist Nait Ooks, while Wilkinson is a transfer from the NCAA. The former Coastal Carolina Chanticleer, who is originally from Calgary, will boost Alberta’s offence. Both Dickie and Terri Kutryk formerly trained at the National Team centre, and will push Alberta’s starting 11.



2011 conference record: 11-1-2, 2nd

2011 playoffs: 1-1

Last CW title: 2007

Last CIS title: 2006

CIS ranking: #8

CW ranking: #3

Key additions: Meghan Pasternak (D); Madison Guy (MF); Shayla Chorney (F)

Key returnees: Ally Williamson (GK); Jordan Kitagawa (D), Alisha Penev (D); Rachel Ramsden (MF); Janine Frazao (F), Rachel Sawer (F), Taryn Lim (F)

Key departures: Diane Rizzardo (D); Natalie Hirayama (MF), Lisa Furutani (MF)

VANCOUVER – The UBC Thunderbirds are looking to build on a season where they won bronze at the Canada West Final Four.

With this team, it all begins with defence. UBC had 11 shutouts in 14 regular season games last year, a league record.

Canada West Rookie of the Year Alyssa Williamson is back in net, as are veteran defenders Jordan Kitagawa and Alisha Penev, a Second Team conference All-Star.

Midfield leaders Natalie Hirayama and Lisa Furutani have graduated, but Rachel Ramsden, one of two fifth-year seniors on the roster, returns. Highly touted rookie Madison Guy is also midfielder.

Up front, UBC is led by Canada West Player of the Year Janine Frazao, who scored 16 goals in just 14 games. She is joined up front by Rachael Sawer, who was seventh in league scoring last year, and Taryn Lim.



2011 conference record: 6-5-3, 6th

2011 playoffs: N/A

Last CW title: 2005

Last CIS title: 1998

CIS ranking: N/A

CW ranking: #6

Key additions: Taylor Stewart, Andrea Stinson, Nikki Furukawa

Key returnees: Sarah Benson, Kristen Barton

Key departures: Tessa Miller, Caitlin Milne, Saaraa Premji

CALGARY – A fresh group of faces will hit West Varsity Soccer Pitch this season as a rejuvenated Calgary Dinos look to make their impact on the new-look Canada West conference.

Last season the Dinos failed to make the playoffs under new head coach Matthew Shepherd as they finished with a 6-5-3 record and in sixth place. The club will need to find a way to get wins from their own pitch this season. Last year Calgary was 1-4-2 at home, despite having one of the best road records in the conference at 5-1-1.

There will be five players for Calgary to replace this upcoming season as Caitlin Milne, Saaraa Premji, Katrina Stauss, and Deanna Fidler all completed their five years of eligibility in 2011. The Dinos will also have to do without Tessa Miller who has been one of the top players on the team for the past several years. Fourth-year player Sarah Benson will likely be asked to take the lead on offence for the team. Benson was second in goals scored on the Dinos with five in 2011.

Calgary will be one of the youngest teams in the conference this year, coming in with 12 potential players completing their first year of eligibility in CIS. Something that should make the transition easier will be the number of players from Calgary. Five of the recruits were teammates on the Calgary Foothills Voltage ’94s, another two players were members of the Calgary Alliance along with one first year coming from South-West United.



2011 conference record: 3-8-3, 7th

2011 playoffs: N/A

Last CW title: 2010

Last CIS title: N/A

CIS ranking: N/A

CW ranking: #7

Key additions: Samantha Ricker (D), Kayla Klim (GK), Tristan Cornell (M)

Key returnees: GK Chantelle Biagioni, MF Chelsea Steffen, F Carly Neeson

Key departures: Ellen Kuyer (F), Megan Webster (M)

ABBOTSFORD, BC – The UFV Cascades enter their third season under head coach Rob Giesbrecht with lots of optimism.

The Cascades are a blend of veterans who were part of the 2010 Canada West gold medal winning team and young players that have a made a contribution over the past two seasons. Chelsea Steffen, a third-year midfielder and Cascades captain will be looked upon for leadership. Fifth-year goalkeeper Chantelle Biagioni has posted 14 wins and 7 shutouts over the past two regular and post seasons.

Coach Giesbrecht will also be counting on Carly Neeson, a third-year forward, to lead the Cascades offence as UFV’s two biggest losses to graduation were Ellen Kuyer and Megan Webster, who combined for 20 goals over the past two regular seasons. Second-year midfielder Maki Shopland, Langley, BC will also be counted on for her excellent playmaking skills in the midfield.

The Cascades will be introducing three key rookies, goalkeeper Kayla Kli and Samantha Ricker, a defender, both played this summer with the Vancouver Whitecaps organization and midfielder Tristan Cornell, who played for the Abbotsford Mariners.

“We have a bright future and for us to accomplish our goals this season we need to be more consistent and improve our finishing,” commented Giesbrecht.

The Cascades are looking to return to the post-season, with Canada West expanding to eight women’s teams qualifying.



2011 conference record: 0-11-3

2011 playoffs: N/A

Last CW title: N/A

Last CIS title: N/A

CIS ranking: N/A

CW ranking: #11

Key additions: Danie Lagemaat (striker), Morag Paterson (midfield), Brittany Wheeler (defence), Emily Felker (Midfield), Jaime Nadeau (defence)

Key returnees: Taura Willoughby (goalkeeper), Shannon Clark (defence), Keagan Moch (defence), Kyla Faszer (striker)

Key departures: Kathy Curtis (defence), Janelle Groten (midfield), Jaclyn Groten (midfield), Sherry Latrace (midfield), Sarah Lajeunesse (defence)

LETHBRIDGE, AB – The Lethbridge Pronghorns enter 2012 with a distinctly different look. The once veteran-laden team from last season has been replaced with one of the youngest teams in the conference.

Ten new faces have arrived this season and with only three players in their fourth year of eligibility, what the team lacks in experience will hopefully be made up for with youth and enthusiasm. Local product Danie Lagemaat headlines the ‘Horns 2012 recruiting class and is expected to inject some flare into the ‘Horns offense that scored a conference low seven goals last season.

Senior member of the ‘Horns, goaltender Taura Willoughby, returns for her fourth season and will be counted on to provide quality goaltending and leadership for the young squad.

The ’Horns open the season on the road with pair of tough tests facing the 2011 Canada West Champion Trinity Western Spartans and perennial conference contender UBC Thunderbirds before returning to Lethbridge for their home opener September 15th versus the newest member of the conference, the Mount Royal Cougars.



2011 conference record: 2-9-3, 8th

2011 playoffs: N/A

Last CW title: N/A

Last CIS title: N/A

CIS ranking: N/A

CW ranking: #9

Key additions: Kayla Gagliardi, Jessica Lukasiewicz, Meagan Sparrow, Kaylan Strang, Selina Speranza, Daniella Scerbo, Martie Arran

Key returnees: Alison Kastner, Chloe Werle, Julie Lafreniere, Rhoni Mackenzie, Sarah Haiko

Key departures: Carrie Nash, Alison Flintoft, Michelle Kliment, Paula Fast

WINNIPEG – The Manitoba Bisons have a realistic goal of making the playoffs after finishing out of the post-season in 2011. With three new teams entering the conference and now eight teams making the playoffs, the Bisons begin their eighth season in Canada West action and are poised to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

Hadyn Sloane-Seale becomes the third head coach in the program’s history. Sloane-Seale has revamped his young lineup with numerous recruits plus will lean on several veterans to bolster a roster that will be using a more pressing, aggressive style that will give them more opportunities to score. Last season, Manitoba only scored 12 goals in 14 conference regular season games.

There are 27 players (with 11 freshmen and two other rookies in the mix) battling for spots on the squad for the 2012 season. In addition, there are only three fifth year senior players on this year’s edition while the team will have to replace the graduation of Canada West All-Star Carrie Nash, forward Paula Fast, forward Alison Flintoft and veteran defender Michelle Kliment. The Herd will have the return of fifth-year forward Alison Kastner plus captains Rhoni Mackenzie and Julie Lafreniere.

Alison Kastner, the third leading team scorer in 2011, will be leaned upon for scoring as the team will also have numerous other options at the forward position. Third year goalkeeper Chloe Werle will be the starter after playing the majority of last season and has worked hard in the off-season and in the words of Sloane-Seale, “could have the ability to be one of the top goalkeepers in Canada West.” Both captains will anchor the defence and midfield along with Bison third year defender Sarah Haiko.

Olympic bronze medallist and former Bison Desiree Scott returns to the sidelines as an assistant coach.



2011 conference record: 8-1-1, 1st South Division (ACAC)

2011 playoffs: 1-1 (ACAC silver)

Last CW title: N/A

Last CIS title: N/A

CIS ranking: N/A

CW ranking: #10

Key additions: D Kimberly Silcox, MF Kara Noel, D Kristen Bloom

Key returnees: ST Karlee Hodl, MF Kristin Deeks, MF Kelsey Kinzner

Key departures: Ainsley Cardoso-Wager, Courtney Elliot, Christina Gaspar, Mallory McNab, Caroline Ireland

CALGARY – The Cougar women will be the first MRU sport to kickoff Canada West play on Sept. 7 when they visit University of Fraser Valley in Abbotsford, B.C. The Cougars host Northern British Columbia for their home opener Sept. 26.

Third-year captain Kristin Deeks will quarterback the squad from her midfield position. She is joined by sophomore Danika Cook, with an opportunity for playing time existing for a newcomer due to the departure of Courtney Elliot.

The team’s 2011-12 most valuable player and ACAC all-star Karlee Hodl leads the forward attack, along with another ACAC all-star Kelsey Kinzner. Donella Lockhart, a small but tenacious player, is another scoring threat. Hodl had 11 goals in 10 ACAC regular games in 2011-12; Kinzner had six.

Kelsey Marklund will take over starting goalkeeping duties after serving as a backup and posting shutouts in all three ACAC regular season games she played in 2011-12. Janelle Chicilo also returns in net.

Defensively, two starting spot appears open for one of Fusco’s recruits – as starters Luci Tansley, and Monica Neilson return.

The Cougars will be led into the CIS by a coach who is very familiar with Canadian university sport. Fusco, who is a native of Regina, played for the University of Saskatchewan Huskies men’s soccer team and is one of a small handful of members of that program to earn CIS All-Canadian honours.



2011 conference record: 0-0-12 (PacWest)

2011 playoffs: N/A

Last CW title: N/A

Last CIS title: N/A

CIS ranking: N/A

CW ranking: #13

Key additions: F Sidney Roy, M Jessica Manning, M Katie Blokker

Key returnees: M Rebecca Irving, GK Jordan Hall, F Sydney Wilson, D Sydney Hall, D Tanya Grob, D Georgia Lahti

Key departures: D/M Andrea Bertulli, F Cora Kelly

PRINCE GEORGE, BC – As one of the new members of Canada West, the UNBC Timberwolves are looking to build their team back to a title challenging program. Under new head coach Andy Cameron, the women have the experience at the helm that they will need to guide them through the 2012 season.

Cameron comes to UNBC from New Brunswick where he was the head coach of the women’s program at the University of New Brunswick. With 20 years of experience under his belt, all at the CIS level, Cameron has a wealth of knowledge to draw upon to help boost the Timberwolves program.

Key departures for the Timberwolves include their two fifth year players, Andrea Bertulli and Cora Kelly. Both players finished their last year of eligibility during the 2011 season. Bertulli added confidence and leadership to the Timberwolves at practice and during games. She will be continuing to help lead the young Timberwolves from the sidelines as an assistant coach. Kelly notched one goal during the previous season which happened to be the only goal recorded by the UNBC squad during their 2011 campaign.

Cameron will look to fill the vacant spots of Kelly and Bertulli with new recruits Sideny Roy (Burnaby, BC), Jessica Manning (Prince George, BC), and Katie Blokker (London, ON). Manning and Blokker will add energy and athleticism to the Timberwolves midfield, while Roy will add the dynamic attack needed up front. Roy has proven her value in training camp, racking up the majority of the Timberwolves goals during their preseason scrimmages.

The UNBC back field will be supported by three returning players Tanya Grob (Quesnel, BC), Sydney Hall (Prince George, BC), and Georgia Lahti (Prince George, BC). All three are entering their second year with the Timberwolves. Hall will be joined again by her twin sister Jordan Hall (Prince George, BC) who was the starting keeper for the Timberwolves in 2011.

The Timberwolves start their Canada West campaign with a trip to Manitoba. Kickoff is set for 4:00pm on Sept. 8 at the University of Winnipeg and 12:00pm on Sept. 9 at the University of Manitoba.



2011 conference record: 1-10-3, 9th

2011 playoffs: N/A

Last CW title: N/A

Last CIS title: N/A

CIS ranking: N/A

CW ranking: #8

Key addition: D Kayla McDonald

Key returnees: MF Meagan Cormier, MF Molly Glass, D Sarah Novak

Key departures: GK Michelle Anderson, D Dana Renneberg

REGINA – Coming off a strong showing in non-conference play with victories in both of its matches against CIS competition, the University of Regina’s women’s soccer team enters the Canada West schedule with high expectations and the goal of qualifying for a postseason berth.

The program had a significant addition in the offseason, as Bob Maltman – who has guided the Cougars since the 2007 campaign – was hired as the University of Regina’s first full-time women’s soccer head coach.

Maltman’s Cougars return a large majority of their roster from last season, led by midfielders Meagan Cormier and Molly Glass and wing back Sarah Novak. Cormier was one of just two Cougars to start all 14 conference games last season and led the team in minutes played, while Glass and Novak both started 13 games for the U of R.

Also returning is third-year attacking midfielder Tayler Firth, who led the Cougars in goals scored and tied for the team lead in shots last season.

The most obvious change for the Cougars entering the 2012 season will be in net, where Stephanie Possberg is expected to take over from former Canada West all-star Michelle Anderson. Possberg saw action in four conference matches last season, sporting a 1.14 goals-against average.

The U of R opens its conference schedule this Saturday against Saskatchewan.



2011 conference record: 7-5-2, 5th

2011 playoffs: N/A

Last CW title: N/A

Last CIS title: N/A

CIS ranking: N/A

CW ranking: #5

Key additions: Nicholle Morrison, Erica Hindmarsh, Meagan Manson

Key returnees: Daniela Fuenzalida, Leanne Mylymok, Lindsay Manz

Key departures: Elizabeth Hudon, Marissa Wilford, Brittany Leier

SASKATOON – After once again setting a program-best in wins in 2011, the University of Saskatchewan Huskie women’s soccer team will look to take the next step in becoming the first Huskie team to make the Canada West playoffs.

In 2011, the Huskies finished just one point out of the final playoff spot for the second straight year after sporting a 7-5-2 record. With additions to the Canada West soccer lineup including the University of Winnipeg Wesmen, Mount Royal University Cougars and the UNBC Timberwolves, eight teams will advance to playoffs in 2012.

Saskatchewan will enter the season without arguably the best women’s soccer player in program history Elizabeth Hudon. The striker finished her Canada West career in 2011 holding program records in points, shots, goals and games played. Also lost is starting keeper Marissa Wilford. Wilford recorded four shutouts starting in all 14 Huskie games in 2011.

The Huskies will return dynamic midfielders and captains Daniela Fuenzalida and Leanne Mylymok. Fuenzalida, who has experience with the Chilean National Team, is a scoring threat up the middle tallying four goals and four assists in 2011. Mylymok is the leader of the Huskies’ midfield. Lindsay Manz gives Saskatchewan experience and speed at striker. The fourth-year finished third in team scoring with six points in 2011.

Joining the Huskies for 2012 is CIS-transfer Nicholle Morrison. The striker played three seasons with the Cape Breton University Capers in the AUS winning two conference championships. Rookies Erica Hindmarsh (striker) and Meagan Manson (defender) will also be looked at to play an important role.

The Huskies open the Canada West season on the road against the University of Regina Cougars September 8. They return home on September 15-16 to face the University of Manitoba Bisons and University of Winnipeg Wesmen at Griffiths Stadium in PotashCorp Park.



2011 conference record: 12-1-1, 1st

2011 playoffs: 3-2 (CW champs, CIS 6th)

Last CW title: 2011

Last CIS title: 2009

CIS ranking: #4

CW ranking: #1

Key additions: Krista Gommeringer (F), Cindy-Leigh Meyer (D/M), Lindsey Pulice (D)

Key returnees: Kristen Funk (G), Jilian Dietrich (D), Colleen Webber (D), Jennifer Castillo (D), Nikki Byrne (D), Jenna Di Nunzio (M), Natalie Boyd (M), Alicia Tesan (F)

Key departures: Melissa Mobilio (M), Daniela Gerig (F), Alexi Foster (M)

LANGLEY, BC – For the Spartans, this year is about unfinished business.

Last year, after a nearly flawless 12-1-1 regular season followed by a Canada West championship in the playoffs, the Spartans were bounced from the CIS national championship after a shocking first-round upset at the hands of host McGill. So, after an eventual sixth place finish in the CIS tournament, the Spartans return this fall a hungry group and one looking to recapture the national glory they claimed in both 2008 and 2009.

This year’s team will be once again be anchored by a defensive five – the back four defenders plus reigning CIS All-Canadian goalie Kristen Funk – that is unchanged and only improving. With Nikki Byrne, Jennifer Castillo, Colleen Webber and Jillian Dietrich patrolling the back line, opposing forwards will be in tough against what will be one of the top defensive units in the country.

In the middle of the park, while the loss of CIS All-Canadian Melissa Mobilio to graduation will no doubt be felt, there is plenty of returning talent to avoid a large set-back. With veteran Spartans Natalie Boyd, Tessa Meyer, Jenna Di Nunzio and Caitlin Haines back in the fold, plus the addition of South African product Cindy-Leigh Meyer, Trinity Western will be in good shape.

Due to long-term injuries and graduation, the Spartans forward unit enters the season with a bit of a new-look. While fourth-year forward Alicia Tesan and third-year Jessica King will both be expected to play large roles, coach Roxburgh is also looking for first-year Krista Gommeringer, who has arrived on campus every bit as advertised, to have a significant and immediate impact on the Spartans attack.



2011 conference record: 7-4-3, 4th

2011 playoffs: 0-2 (CW 4th)

Last CW title: 2008

Last CIS title: 2005

CIS ranking: N/A

CW ranking: #4

Key additions: F Sarah Douglas, D Erika Groten, D Samantha Lee, F Sarah Lefebvre, D Nikki Turner, F Allie Wiebe

Key returnees: GK Stephanie Parker, M Lindsay Hoetzel, M Maryse Reichgeld, F Emma Greig, M Jaclyn Sawicki, F Shannon Elder, M Jacqueline Harrison, D Brigitte Greig, M Amy Lawrence

Key departure: M Sarah Clark

VICTORIA – Two-time Canada West Coach of the Year Tracy David is entering her 11th season as head coach of the University of Victoria Vikes women’s soccer team. With the Vikes women playing host to the nation’s top CIS competitors in November, there is no doubt that the team will be working towards repeating a home CIS victory, much like the Vikes men last season, at Centennial Stadium.

An automatic berth to the 2012 Championship, hosted Nov. 8-11 at Centennial Stadium, lessens the pressure for David’s regular season as she works to build her championship team.

Amongst the key returnees is third year midfielder Jaclyn Sawicki (Coquitlam, B.C.), fresh off the heels of a stint with the Under-20 Canadian national team that competed at the FIFA Under-20 Junior World Cup in Japan. The 2011 Canada West All-Star and CIS second team All-Canadian led the CIS last season in assists. Sawicki has spent the summer gaining international competition experience, which is sure to be a vital component to the 2012 Vikes squad.

Additionally, veteran midfielder Jackie Harrison (Whitehorse, Yukon) and fifth year goalkeeper Stephanie Parker (Chemainus, B.C.) will be key anchors in the Vikes’ defensive game. Alongside Sawicki in the midfield, Harrison is a dominant playmaker in the middle of the pitch while Parker brings consistency between the pipes and solid leadership to the squad.

The 2012 Vikes women will be without senior midfielder Sarah Clark but the return of Smith to the midfield line should boast the Vikes’ offensive game. Smith returns to the team after taking a three-year hiatus but was training and competing with the Victoria Highlanders throughout that period.

Among freshmen to watch is forward Sarah Douglas (London, Ont.), a regular starter with the Victoria-based Prospect Super 20 Highlanders team. In addition to their talented starting lineup, the Vikes will have plenty of depth this year coming off the bench with rookies Sam Lee (Victoria) and Allie Wiebe (Ladner, B.C.).

The Vikes open their Canada West season at home, in Centennial Stadium, on Sept. 7 against Alberta and Sept. 8 against Mount Royal. Both games will take place at 5:00 p.m. PST and will be broadcast live at http://uvic.canadawest.tv



2011 conference record: First year in Canada West

2011 playoffs: N/A

Last CW title: N/A

Last CIS title: N/A

CIS ranking: N/A

CW ranking: #12

Key additions: Ainslie McKonkey (G), Morgan Butler (D), Claire Soubry (D)

Key returnees: Sheri Hince (M), Serafina Trunzo (M), Kayla Jacobsen (D/M)

WINNIPEG – Head coach Mick Gale entering his first season of CIS Soccer feels that his team is prepared for the challenge and rigors of a full Canada West season schedule.

The team has had its share of success in the past two years winning back-to-back MCAC (Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference) championships. Last season the team finished the season with a perfect regular season record of 6-0 and won both matches in the post season to cap off a perfect season.

Winnipeg will be led by midfielder Sheri Hince who had great success in the MCAC and will look to add that experience at the CIS level. Hince was the MCAC regular season and post season MVP and led the league with nine regular season goals. Co-captain and midfielder Serafina Trunzo along with defender/midfielder Kayla Jacobsen were both named conference all-stars and will be looked upon to provide added depth to the Wesmen this season.

Chelsea Kwasnicki, Stephanee Ophey, and Danielle Bulloch are all team veterans and will be looked upon to provide leadership on and off the field as the team competes in the tough Canada West Conference.