First Saskatchewan Huskies women’s soccer team off to nationals

The Saskatchewan Huskies women’s soccer team in action on Oct. 29, 2016. The squad is off to the national championships after capturing bronze at the Canada West tournament over the weekend. File / Global News

The past weekend had a more positive outcome for the Saskatchewan Huskies women’s soccer team.

Despite a loss to Trinity West in the Canada West semifinals on Saturday, the Dogs rebounded to beat MacEwan 1-0 on Sunday. The win earned the squad a bronze medal and the team’s first-ever berth in the national championship tournament.

“To finally break through and make it to nationals and win a second bronze in three years is outstanding. I think the girls won’t know the impact until this week is done, until they go home and they see the support and see just the magnitude of what they’ve done for the program,” Huskies head coach Jerson Barandica-Hamilton said.

“I think that they have a general idea but we are in kind of a little bit of a bubble and we’re focusing on the present and to strive to be better every day but in the long run it is something to be extremely proud of.”

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The Huskies also won bronze in 2014, their first medal in conference play, but that year Canada West only sent two teams to nationals.

“We’ve really shown how good of a team we’ve grown into and we’ve peaked at the right time. We’re confident but at the end of the day, we are learning how to win, we’re learning how to set a culture and set a program expectation of being at this stage, not just this year but next year and the following,” Barandica-Hamilton said.

“Because that’s what good teams do, what good programs do … we like to do it the Saskatchewan women’s soccer way and that’s what we’re going to try and show.”

This year’s tournament is being hosted by Acadia University, and the Huskies have already made their way to the Maritimes from Vancouver.

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Saskatchewan is seeded seventh in the eight-team tourney.

They will face No. 2 Laval in the quarterfinals, which will be played this Thursday.

“This is all new for us and we’re really taking it day-by-day here, we’re really making sure that we’re enjoying the moment and experiences so we can learn and grow but at the end of the day we’re here to compete and do well,” Barandica-Hamilton said.

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“If we’re going to go down, we’re going to go down playing our brand of football.”

The Quebec champs have not lost this season but the Huskies have been on quite the run of their own. The semifinal loss to Trinity West was their first loss since Sept. 24, covering a stretch of 13 games including playoffs.

Saskatchewan and Laval kick off the tournament Thursday at noon Atlantic time, 10 a.m. local time.

Ryan Flaherty contributed to this story

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