LAURENTIAN SOCCER HEADS TO MONTREAL FOR PRESEASON TEST

SUDBURY, Ont. - The Laurentian soccer teams will get their first taste of interuniversity competition for 2008 this weekend as both the men's and women's teams head to Montreal for exhibition contests at Concordia University. Both teams will take on the NCAA Division I University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee Panthers on Saturday, August 23rd with the women playing at 12 p.m. and men at 2 p.m. and the host Concordia Stingers on Sunday, August 24th with the women playing at 10 a.m. and the men at 12 p.m.

The Laurentian women are hoping to use the weekend's games as an opportunity for their eight rookies to get their feet wet and begin to gel with the returning veteran players. After a tough season in 2007 the Lady Vees will be looking to find the right combination of players on the field and will look for strong performances from rookies and veterans alike this weekend to help the team onto the right track before the season starts in a week's time.

First up for the Lady Vees will be the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee Panthers who are the defending Horizon League champions, having amassed a league record of seven wins, no losses and one tie and an overall record of 13 wins, four losses and four ties in 2007. The Panthers exhibited a potent scoring attack last season and will not likely lose anything with key returnees Kate Megna, Erin Kreuser and Nicole Sperl trolling the field in search of goals. The Panthers also return their senior goalkeeper Erin Kane who will make the Lady Vees work for any goal they get. The Lady Vees and Panthers kick off at 12 p.m. on Saturday, August 23rd in Montreal.

In their second game of the weekend the Lady Vees will take on the Concordia Stingers who in 2007 finished the season with a record of four wins, nine losses and one tie, finishing in fifth place in the QSSF and missing the playoffs. The Stingers had a young squad last season and will definitely have more of a veteran presence on the field this year with key returnees including leading scorers Emily Hubbard and Jessica Schroeder who combined for nine of Concordia's 16 goals last season. The Lady Vees will need to be weary of these two players when they are on the field. The Stingers and Lady Vees kick off is set for 10 a.m. on Sunday, August 24th in Montreal.

"This is an exciting time for us because we have all sorts of new faces around and are going to take the opportunity to play everyone and move them around to see what they can do in different position and with different combinations of players" said Lady Vees head coach Rob Gallo. "We are going to work the eight new players into the line-up and let the red shirts from last year get some playing time to determine who will be a part of the starting line-up and who will be reserve players when the OUA regular season starts the day after Labour Day."

The Laurentian men will be looking to the weekend as a team building experience and an opportunity to play opponents they do not regularly compete against. With a largely veteran team the Voyageurs will be looking to build some team unity with the rookies and measure themselves against their competitors. The Voyageurs will be looking for leadership and quality performances from veterans Dan Keir (Hamilton, Ont.), Tony Tagliafierro (Sudbury, Ont.), Andrew Posteraro (Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.), Jean-Pierre Sauve (Pembroke, Ont.) and Scott Cliff (Sudbury).

Their first opponent the Wisconsin Panthers are coming off a 2007 campaign that saw them register five wins, two losses and one tie in Horizon league play and a total of five wins, 12 losses and three ties overall. The University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee will be counting on returnees Colin Baker and Robert Refai, who were second and third in scoring last season, to step up and take the place of leading scorer Zeke Dombrowski, who graduated at the end of last season, if they are to sneak one by the Laurentian goalkeepers. The Voyageurs and Panthers kick off at 2 p.m. on Saturday, August 23rd in Montreal.

In their second game of the weekend, the Voyageurs will take on the host Concordia Stingers who finished the 2007 season in seventh place in the QSSF with a record of two wins, eight losses and two ties. The Stingers record may not have been indicative of their play as they did have a very young team that as statistics show struggled on the offensive side of the ball. The Stingers will look to last season's top scorers Nathan Jarrer and J. Alexander Filion Lord to lead the charge and challenge the Laurentian defenders at every turn. The Voyageurs and Stingers kick off at 12 p.m. on Sunday, August 24th in Montreal.

"We are looking forward to the exhibition season to evaluate the rookies and to see what we need to work on before the start of the regular season" said Voyageurs head coach Carlo Castrechino. "It's also nice to play different competition instead of intra squad scrimmages that we have been doing for the past week."

"Playing two schools that we do not play regularly is exciting, especially the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. This will be a good measuring stick for the boys" added Castrechino.

Both teams will take on the NCAA Division I University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee Panthers on Saturday, August 23rd with the women playing at 12 p.m. and men at 2 p.m. and the host Concordia Stingers on Sunday, August 24th with the women playing at 10 a.m. and the men at 12 p.m.

Source: Greg Hoddinott, Laurentian Athletics
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