UPEI team opens at home this weekend with a new team captain and a new head coach
The UPEI Panthers women’s soccer team is looking confident as it gets ready to open a new season this weekend.
The Panthers will host the UNB Reds on Saturday at 2 p.m. and the Mount Allison Mounties on Sunday at 1 p.m. in Atlantic University Sport conference action.
After coming out of last weekend’s Mulligan Cup tournament with a tie and a win, the squad looks ready to tackle the gruelling seven-week, 13-game schedule.
There’s no one more positive about the upcoming season than new captain Maria Schichilone, a native of Rothesay, N.B.
“It’s going to be challenging this year as captain, but I’m really looking forward to representing our team and being there for support, especially the rookies” said Schichilone. “I think Tessa Fudge from Nova Scotia should have a big impact on our scoring up front and we have Ashley McKenna returning as one of our keepers and Melisa Burke in midfield returning as well.
“Overall, we’re a young team with lots of speed. I am the oldest but they all keep me young.”
The Panthers are entering the season with a new coach in Lewis Page,
“He’s going to be perfect for our team,” Schichilone said of Page. “He’s composed, he’s very smart and he knows the game. We’ve only had a few training sessions and already I feel as though we have learned so much.”
It’s going to be challenging this year as captain, but I’m really looking forward to representing our team and being there for support, especially the rookies. Maria Schichilone, UPEI Panthers captain
Page is taking on a major challenge this year as head coach of both the men’s and women’s varsity teams, and from the start it looks as though he is relishing the opportunity.
“First-year player Tessa Fudge should fit in very well with Emilie Palletier and Maria up front,” said Page.
“One of my challenges will be getting the team used to playing the way I want them to play. It’s always a little tough for the players to fit in to a new system. I think there are a lot of strengths in the team with great overall team speed and there’s a lot of competition for places, which can only be good. So there are lots of positives. “This is a tough league, but I see our squad fitting very nicely into the top three.
Sara Stewart, John O’Brien and Gina Lisi are the assistant coaches while Krista Collier is the team manager.