Posted: Sep 14, 2012
Robbyn McNeill had a big summer of club soccer back home, and it’s something she’ll look to build on with the Cape Breton University Capers women’s soccer team this fall.
The 21-year-old from Kentville was named the women’s most valuable player and an all-star of the EastLink Premiership as a member of the Valley United soccer club. The fourth-year centre back is serving as one of the Capers’ captains this season.
“I had a really good season at home and it was good working with the girls because it’s just a different kind of team with Cape Breton than at home,” she said. “At home, I have a different role than I do here. The success we had this summer left me in a positive mode going into this season.”
McNeill started all 13 games the Capers played last season, scoring two goals. As one of the veterans, she and co-captain Allison Bell-Davies have taken on the leadership role of guiding the younger players on the team.
“It’s exciting being a leader and knowing that the girls look up to you and respect you,” said McNeill. “Allison and I at the end of last year when we knew we were going to be captains this year, it was a really good way to end school and we’re looking forward to taking on the responsibility.”
The Capers will look to McNeill’s leadership as CBU faces the defending Atlantic University Sport champion Dalhousie Tigers (1-0-1) Saturday at the Cape Breton Health Recreation Complex turf field. Game time is 3 p.m.
CBU will look to build on a pair of 2-0 victories over the Memorial Sea-Hawks last weekend in St. John’s, N.L., that put them on top of the conference standings.
“Dalhousie women’s soccer team is probably ranked No. 1 in the conference for sure and they’re ranked in the CIS also, so they look like the team to beat right out of the gate,” said Capers head coach Ness Timmons. “It’ll be a good measuring stick for us right from the get-go.”
The Capers are battling the injury bug heading into their match with the Tigers. Last year’s leading scorer, Karolyne Blain, is out with an ankle injury, while Kara MacKinnon (ankle) and keeper Amanda Budden (elbow) are also sidelined. All three should be out for another two weeks.
“It gives other players the chance to step up and get quality playing time early in the season,” said Timmons.
On the men’s side, the Capers also got out of the gates with a 2-0 start in Newfoundland. They bested the SeaHawks by scores of 3-1 and 2-0, as five different players found the back of the net on the weekend.
The CBU men are the No. 2-ranked club in the country in the latest Canadian Interuniversity Sport rankings, second only to the University of Victoria Vikes.
The two victories, however, came at a cost. Fifth-year keeper Andrew Murphy, who posted both wins last weekend, is out with an arm injury. The extent of the damage isn’t known at this point, but head coach Robbie Chiasson said the loss only opens up competition between keepers Eric Cochrane of Victoria, B.C., and Ethan MacInnis of Sydney.
The Capers men and the Dalhousie Tigers (0-2) hit the field Saturday at 5:15 p.m.
“There were a lot of good things we saw on the weekend, but obviously, we have some new bodies in the lineup and we have a large group of guys and we’re trying to figure out who are those guys down the stretch,” said Chiasson. “We’re giving everybody a chance to play and finding the group of 11 who are key guys at playoff time.
“It’s early in the season, but we’re still feeling out a lot of players who are looking good. Dalhousie is always a competitive team, so it’s going to be a good matchup. Playing our first home game, we want to impress as well.”
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