Despite the mercury in the thermometer displaying a reading more akin to hockey weather, members of the NDSS Golden Hawks soccer teams have been out on the pitch the last couple of days as they prepare for the upcoming KASSAA season.
The school will field teams at the junior level only this year, as the numbers weren’t strong enough for either a senior girls or senior boys club. Coaches of both junior teams are hoping to develop a strong core for both this year and the next couple of seasons as they hope to rebuild the program.
“We’ve got a lot of first -year guys that look like they’ve got some promise,” said Hawks junior boys coach Brian Heaton. “We’ve got a couple of guys back that made an impact last year. Mack Grosvenor, who was a striker, we’ve got Marshall McFarland, who is a defender. Our goalkeeper is Griffin Newton, he played last year and I think he’ll be one to watch.”
The Hawks will get their first game experience today when they take part in a pre-season tournament hosted by KCVI at Queen’s University’s turf fields. The tournament will be comprised of both familiar KASSAA league opponents they’ll face in the regular season as well as entries from Kemptville, Cornwall and Smith’s Falls.
They’ll then open the season on Monday when they take on Bayridge at Kingston’s Mik-Mac turf field.
KASSAA’s soccer season has been expanded this year and will see each team play each other once, rather than the standard six game schedule.
“It’s a little bit more equitable in that you’re seeing everyone,” said Heaton. “That’s good in the sense that you see how you measure up with all the teams in the league.”
NDSS’ junior girls were scheduled to take part in a KCVI pre-season tournament yesterday. Results weren’t known at press time.
“We’ll know what we got after that tournament,” junior girls coach Todd Collard said prior to the tournament. “Lots of Grade 9s, so it’s hard to know how we’ll do.”
Collard says the players have shown a strong dedication to the program already, often taking the field in snowy conditions over the last couple of weeks for practice.
They will open their season on Tuesday when they take on Bayridge at Mik-Mac field. They’ll host the La Salle Black Knights on Thursday at NDSS.