(FREDERICTON, NB) If early indications are a barometer, the UNB Varsity Reds could be in for a heck of a season.
“I’m excited for the season,” says Varsity Reds head coach Jon Crossland. “The group has come together really well, and trained well throughout camp, so there’s lots to look forward to as we kick off the season.”
The Varsity Reds open the 2017 Atlantic University Sport season on Friday night, at Acadia, against a team that began the season in the first U SPORTS Top 10 poll. Kick-off is scheduled for 5:00pm.
Ranked 9th in the country in that first poll, the Axewomen fell out of the poll in Week Two.
Crossland knows the opener will be a tough match, but likes the group he’s got.
“This is probably the deepest team we’ve had in a while,” he said. “The competition level during training camp was very good, and that helps prepare us for a tough AUS schedule. It's going to be a tough job to choose the roster each weekend.”
Week One of the AUS schedule continues Saturday when the Varsity Reds visit Dalhousie for a 3:00pm start.
UNB’s home opener comes a week from Saturday, on September 16th at 1:00pm, when the Varsity Reds host the CBU Capers.
More than half of the players on Crossland’s roster are first or second year players. Still, the coach feels they bring significant experience to the team.
“With a lot of new faces, they go into the games with their eyes wide open and ready to start putting their stamp on our program,” said Crossland. “They’re new, but not lacking for experience against a lot of the players they'll come across in the AUS. Our incoming girls have all played with or against AUS level talent, so they understand the effort it will take to be successful.”
Last season, the Varsity Reds finished fifth in the AUS standings, with a record of 6-4-2. They fell to eventual champion St FX in the first round of the AUS championship tournament.