It’s slugfest in the Atlantic University Sport women’s soccer conference this year. No team has more than eight goals four weeks into the season and UPEI Panthers goalkeeper Chanelle Roy is doing her part.
The third-year science student has five shutouts and only surrendered one goal for the 3-0-3 Panthers, which sit in second place (12 points) behind Dalhousie University (14 points).
All that good work recently landed the Bathurst, N.B. native, the Canadian Interuniversity Sport and the AUS female athlete of the week, although Roy sends a lot credit her team’s way. UPEI, ranked 10th nationally, is on the road versus Mount Allison (0-2-3) today and Acadia (2-1-2) on Sunday, both start at 1 p.m.
“My secret? Focus and a strong defensive back four. My defence and I are a family, along with my team of course. I could never do it without them. I make the key saves, but they make sure that I don’t have to get as many as I should,’’ said Roy in an email interview. “If anyone has seen me play, they know I’m there. I don’t stop yelling for the full 90 minutes. I like to call myself ‘the motivator’ of the team. I like to get my girls pumped and ready to kick some butt.’’
Roy, a three-year starter at keeper, is a former first-team AUS all-star and in 2006 won the Soccer New Brunswick athlete of the year.
Scoring goals she can’t help with, yet. That’s better left to players like Tessa Roche, who notched 13 last season, but is off to slow start this year with three, though she’s tied with for first with Jeanette Huck of Dalhousie and Kelly Burgess of Saint Mary’s University.
No team is burning up the goal nets. One-third of the games have resulted in ties, with UPEI and Mount Allison each posting three. Mt. A, ninth place in the 10-team league, has given up only three goals all year and has three 0-0 draws.
Fourth place Acadia, hosts for this year’s AUS playoffs, has also allowed only three goals and are riding a four-game unbeaten streak.
“There are no easy games in this league,’’ said Panther captain Sara Stewart on the balance in the AUS so far.
Roy would agree and sees UPEI’s woes as too much of good thing and said the Panthers should be more selfish.
“We are too generous. We always want to make the little passes on top of the 18-yard box. We need to get greedy,’’ said Roy. “We just need to stay focused and everything will work itself out.’’
The Panthers men’s soccer team (1-4-1) also faces road action versus Mount Allison today and Acadia on Sunday. Starts there are 3:15 p.m., respectively.