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Winnipeg Sun: Herd Wraps Learning Year

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Herd wraps learning year

Soccer women end first season with victory, hope for 2006

By Glen Dawkins

To striker Karlie Colpitts, the University of Manitoba Bisons women's soccer team learned a lot in their first season in Canada West.

They learned how to lose as a team and they learned to win as a team. Now they can't wait until next year to put those lessons to good use.

"(We learned that) You have to pull through when the times get tough and practise harder and work on the things that you need to do," said Colpitts, who scored twice and had an assist to spark the Bisons to a 5-2 victory over the University of Alberta Pandas yesterday at University Stadium and wrap up their inaugural season on a high note. "We didn't win (Saturday, a 3-0 loss to Saskatchewan) but this week we worked on all of the things that haven't been working for us and we were able to pull together to the end."

Midfielder Desiree Scott added two goals and an assist in the second half while forward Caley Miskimmin had a single for Manitoba. Late in the first half, Scott almost had another goal when she beat Alberta goalkeeper Veronique Mayer but her shot hit the near post.

Claire Thomas and Danielle Stewart replied for Alberta.

"Today we came out and played to the level that we're capable of playing and we got the result," said Bisons head coach Walt McKee. "Nobody got down and we took advantage of our opportunities and put them away. We beat a pretty good team today."

Manitoba finished the season at 5-9-2 and snapped a nine-game losing streak. It was the Herd's first victory since beating the defending CIS champion Trinity Western 3-2 at home on Sept. 29.

"I'm glad we finished hard," said Colpitts, who scored both of her goals in the first half as Manitoba led 2-0 at halftime. "That was a big concern of ours. We were in a bit of a drought this season. It was just nice to end off with a win, especially at home."

The Bisons began the season on a roll with four wins and two ties in their first six games to rise to No. 8 in the CIS Top 10. But they staggered through a seven-game road swing through Saskatchewan, Alberta and B.C., losing all seven games.

"Teams started to figure out who our key players were and they started to play Caley and Desiree out of the game," said McKee. "It becomes almost like a chess game. I think it took a while for the other teams to figure out how to stop us."

"I definitely expected it to be a high level of play with good skilled players with good technique," added Scott, one of 10 university freshmen on the squad. "I knew it was going to be tough but I thought our team came together pretty well."

The Bisons lose only three players to graduation and only one of them -- midfielder Roseline Bohemier -- started yesterday. That and a promising recruit class gives McKee hope for the future.

"We've got a lot of younger players who are interested in coming out to the University of Manitoba," said McKee. "Hopefully if they're here today and see the result we got, they'll be encouraged to come here."

GRAND FINALE: Miskimmin, who entered the weekend tied for the conference lead in goals, finished the season with a team-high 10 goals while Scott had eight and Colpitts popped in seven.

A member of the national under-19 team, the 18-year-old Scott has been invited to play with the Ottawa Fury of the United Soccer League W-League next summer. In 2004, Scott played a summer for the USL W-League's Calgary Wildfire.

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