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For the men’s side, they’ll be aiming for greater consistency this fall after finishing the 2022 Canada West campaign with a 3-7-4 record.
And while the Huskies were able to return to the post-season, they fell in their opening quarter-final matchup to the top-ranked UBC Thunderbirds seeing their season come to an early end.
“Last year it was very tight and we didn’t want to do really what we expected,” said Huskies midfielder Diego Reveco.
“This year I think it’s going to be different and we have a great chance at making playoffs. Our goal minimum is playoffs and then obviously Canada West.”
Preparing for their season-opening road trip to Edmonton to face the MacEwan Griffins and University of Alberta Golden Bears, the Huskies men’s squad is ranked eighth in the Canada West coaches poll.
Jule brothers reunited on football field with U Sask. Huskies
Head coach Bryce Chapman feels the ‘Dogs’ have a chance to be an underrated surprise club in 2023, though, adding the team has completed one of their best training camps in recent memory.
That included a pair of pre-season games in Calgary, something the team hasn’t done since the onset of the pandemic.
“It was important for us to go play two top teams between Mount Royal and Prince George,” said Chapman. ”
We got to see a lot of really positive pieces. We feel that anyone in the lineup right now can be part of a game day and be part of our success over the next 12 weeks.”
Star striker Ahmed Mohammed will be back in green and white this season, however the team will have to compete without fellow breakout attacker Kuhle Bekwayo and his five goals scored last season.
Like the men’s program, the Huskies women’s team is eager to crawl out of the middle of the pack in Canada West competition in 2023 after posting a 7-4-3 record in the regular season last year.
Their playoff fate mirrored the men’s team, with U Sask. falling to the Trinity Western Spartans in their quarter-final tilt.
One of the youngest teams in Canada West, the Huskies are producing a strong recruiting class according to head coach Jerson Barandica which he expects will help the team compete with the top contenders in the conference.
“The level of recruits that we’re attracting is allowing us to now continue to evolve our playing styles, our tactical flexibility to be able to compete with some of the bigger programs that have a bit more resources or local talent,” said Barandica.
That early season work has been immediately apparent for returning veterans like centre back Taryn Izsak, who praised the team’s ability to stay focused on consistency and attacking the net.
“If we can hunker down, really dive deep into our formation and just keep our team super organized on and off the field with the right mindset, I think we’ll be good to compete,” said Izsak.
Top scorers Alyssa D’Agnone and Cheyenne Lehmann are back in the fold for the Huskies women’s team, which slotted in the pre-season coaches poll in sixth place.
A strong result for the women’s program could help usher in a transformative season according to Barandica, both at home and across Canada.
“This country needs the support,” said Barandica. “A professional [women’s] league is starting in 2025 and these are the players that are going to be playing in that league. So come out, support and we look forward to having a packed stands on our home openers.”
The men’s and women’s teams will open the 2023 season in Edmonton versus MacEwan on Saturday afternoon before battling the University of Alberta the following day.
Next weekend the Huskies men’s team will hold their home opening weekend against the University of Calgary and Mount Royal, while the women’s team will play their first games at Griffith Stadium this season on Sept. 9 & 10 versus Manitoba and Winnipeg.
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