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McMaster is Undefeated...

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I'm happy for Tom McManus. He coached the Winnipeg Fury to their 1992 CSL Championship. He's a class act and a real gentleman:

McMaster women's soccer team has a new coach, and is undefeated

By Larry Moko

The Hamilton Spectator

(Sep 29, 2006)

Hometown boy Tom McManus has breathed new life into the McMaster University women's soccer program since his return to Hamilton.

Technical director of the Kamloops Youth Soccer Association immediately prior to joining Mac last May, the 54-year-old veteran coach has the Marauders solidly in contention for top spot in the West Division of Ontario University Athletics.

McMaster is undefeated in eight starts -- four wins and four ties.

And for one of the rare times in the past decade, Marauders have -- for more than just a week -- found themselves in the Top 10 rankings of Canadian Interuniversity Sport. This week they're No. 8.

"The girls are doing a great job," McManus said. "They've really turned things around."

One of the main reasons for the team's success has been the play of goalkeeper Amy Holt. The Hamilton native who started at the NCAA level for Maine Black Bears, has five shutouts, yielding a total of only three goals.

"Amy is such a strong keeper. She has made some class saves. She's getting five to seven direct shots a game that really could be goals.

"But I'll give the defenders credit, as well. Nicole Strecker, Natalie Molodecky and Dany (Danielle) Smith have not been letting shots get through."

Offensively, rookie striker Samantha Batten has scored six goals -- tied for the second most in the OUA and fourth best nationally.

"Sam shoots at the right time and has the ability to finish," former national team assistant coach McManus said of the 5-foot-6 Stouffville product. "She has good speed to go by people when she's in control of the ball.

"Her and Andrea Dunn (a three-year veteran striker) are teaming up well together. Their chemistry seems to click."

McManus says first-year sweeper Carly Moore of Sarnia has also been "lighting it up" for Mac.

"We want to get past the first round of the playoffs," McManus said.

"That was the team goal from the beginning of the year.

"Our training has been really upbeat. I'm thrilled they've responded so well."

According to McManus, Marauders had to battle through a recent stretch of injuries that saw five starters out of the lineup.

McManus previously coached the men's soccer teams at Mac. He was at the controls from 1983-86 and again in 1990.

His background also includes one year as bench boss at University of Saskatchewan and four years coaching in professional leagues for franchises in Toronto, Vancouver and Winnipeg. He also has served as director and head coach of five soccer organizations across North America.

"I love being back in Hamilton, working with McMaster again. It would be nice if there was something in the area full-time in soccer for me ( in player development at a club or school). But right now there doesn't seem to be anything around."

This year's CIS championships will be held Nov. 9-12 in Victoria, B.C., and McManus hopes Marauders can join him. He'll make the trip to attend league meetings, but he's also going to stay an extra week for player recruitment.

"There are a couple of very strong girls in West Vancouver that have expressed interest in playing for me next year," McManus said. "I'm going to see them and talk to them."

McMaster last won the OUA women's soccer title in 1987.

However, Mac qualified for the 1997 and 1991 Canadian championships, winning bronze and gold medals, respectively.

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