The head coach of the UPEI women’s soccer Panthers knows he has a big hole to fill this year.
Forward Sarah MacVarish has departed Graeme MacDonald’s squad to enter the architecture program at Dalhousie University.
MacDonald thinks he’s got the answer — P.E.I. striker Maddie Hurley.
“Maddie is going to give us an edge up front. She’s got an eye for the goal and she just has to adjust to the level of university play,’’ MacDonald said Tuesday. “I’m pretty sure if she can find that level she’ll do what we want her to, which is put the ball in the net.’’
MacDonald said Hurley has been a proven goal scorer for years. He’s been scouting her for the past four seasons. She was on his Canada Games team and turned heads last year in an exhibition game against the Nova Scotia Canada Games team.
“That just kind of shows you the level she is at is way above the normal P.E.I. kind of level. She’s up there and sometimes bringing in one or two to make a big impact is better than bringing in seven or eight and none of them are really ready to go.’’
Hurley began playing soccer at four-years old. She has represented P.E.I. five times as a member of the provincial soccer team, including at the 2017 Canada Summer Games. She has competed three times at the national club championships as a member of the Winsloe-Charlottetown Royals FC.
As a member of the Charlottetown Rural High School Raiders, Hurley helped capture three AAA girls soccer titles, being named an all-star twice.
“I am delighted to be going to UPEI, and I am looking forward to competing in the university level and playing with such a talented group of girls in the upcoming soccer season,” said Hurley.
Another recruit MacDonald is keen on is Olivia Cummings who comes over from New Brunswick. She played for the provincial team and for Fundy in the Fundy Soccer Association.
Cummings played AAA Premier League for the Fundy Soccer Association (provincial champions 2012 and 2016). She represented New Brunswick playing on under-13 and under-15 provincial teams and was captain of her Kennebecasis Valley High School varsity team (provincial championship in 2014).
“She’s a big, strong, fast, technical defender so she’ll come in and give us a little bit more depth at the back on defence.’’
One other recruit MacDonald mentioned is Gia Green who comes in from Bluefield.
A look at the UPEI Panthers women’s soccer team’s pre-season schedule.
Saturday, Aug. 25
3:30 p.m. – UPEI at Acadia.
Sunday, Aug. 26
9:30 a.m. – UPEI at Dalhousie.
Wednesday, Aug. 29
1 p.m. – UPEI at Moncton.
Wednesday, Aug. 29
6:30 p.m. – UPEI vs. Mount Allison (at Moncton).