Austin MacKenzie, winger, third year, Stratford. “If you look up hard work and work rate in the dictionary you just see a picture of Austin. You can never fault that guy for effort. He’s always giving everything he’s got all the time and he’s a creative player.”
Noah Bitar, Midfielder, fourth year, Charlottetown. “If you want to describe someone as a true professional, Noah is like that. He’s diligent about taking care of his body. I wish I had 28 guys who were that serious about making sure they were physically and mentally ready to play. . . He’s always trying to make himself better and always fully prepared to play when asked.”
Liam Doiron, Fullback, second year, Charlottetown. “Liam is a great example of a guy who has worked really hard to get himself the opportunity to play, especially this summer. . . He came to the camp in shape, played at the highest level he could (in the off-season) and he played as often as he could.”
Nathan Ford, Keeper, fifth year, Warren Grove. “The time he puts into the game in the off-season, coaching and working with young players, has really helped him grow as a player . . . and a leader. . . He’s always looking for some other way to help the team if he’s not playing. That’s a quality of a true leader. He’s set a great example for everybody coming after him.”
Jade-Evelyne Bellemare, Forward, fourth year, Shawinigan, Que. “Jade’s passion really comes through. She brings an impact to our team. She’s always brought a really good intensity and is an aggressive player. She’s always been kind of that quiet leader for us off the field.”
Emma Adkins, Midfielder, second year, Bonshaw. “She has a great, positive attitude and always works hard and gives her all out there on the practice field. She’s been great around the squad and always has a smile on her face.”
Danielle Younker, Centre back, fourth year, Charlottetown. “Danielle brought a very high playing standard to our program. She’s grown as a player over the four years into one of the best centre back, holding mid players, we’ve had here for a few years. She has a fantastic attitude and is a great leader. I think she’s one of those players that inspires the other girls.”
UPEI to honour senior members tonight as they play final game of season
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – Character is a word that comes up when Lewis Page thinks of his four players that will be recognized during tonight’s UPEI Panthers soccer senior night.
Nathan Ford, Liam Doiron, Noah Bitar and Austin MacKenzie will be recognized before the men’s team’s 7:15 p.m. contest with the Saint Mary’s (SMU) Huskies.
“They have always selfless served the team,” Page said Wednesday. “These aren’t guys who have got a ton of playing time over the years, but they’ve shown up every day for training, they’ve always been available when asked to play.”
The women’s team will recognize Jade-Evelyne Bellemare, Emma Adkins and Danielle Younker.
Both squads are out of the playoff picture as the teams enter the final weekend of the Atlantic University Sport season.
The Panthers (1-7-3) look to end the season on a strong note against the Huskies (4-4-3).
Page said it’s been a rarely has it had its full allotment of players available due to injuries this season.
“It’s a hard season to judge because we’ve played very well in a number of games and not gotten the result,” he said. “Unfortunately, in this league, the season is so short, you can’t afford to drop those points.”
He said the players should be proud of the effort they have put into the season.
“The pain that they felt this year of being so close in so many of those games and not getting results, that pain is going to drive them in the summer,” he said. “They don't want to feel this again.”
The team can return a strong core next season, including centre back Jake Deighan who Page called the squad’s best player all year.
The Panthers women’s team are looking to end the season strong. UPEI (2-6-3) hosts the Huskies (6-4-1) at 5 p.m.
“We’ve had a really good home record (2-1-2) this year, so we want to finish on a high,” head coach Graeme McDonald said. “We want to make sure that we finish the season with that good record.”
The Panthers lone loss this year was to second-place Cape Breton, 3-0 on Sept. 16.
McDonald is looking for his team to bring a positive mindset into today’s game and play hard.
“Because SMU is a well-organized defensive team we need to be creative when we attack and have possession of the ball.”
Amanda Stanyer gets the start for the Panthers.