There is a saying in sports that goes: Act like youve been there before.
For the Queens Gaels it is no charade.
Coach Dave McDowells womens soccer team from Kingston will be in search of its third straight Gladys Bean Memorial Trophy at the CIS national championship starting today at the University of Victoria, a feat that has never been managed since the tournament began back in 1987.
Queens (2010-11), Trinity Western (2008-09), UBC (2002-03) and Dalhousie (1999-2000) have all managed two straight titles, but no one has ever accomplished the treble.
As always, were excited to be here, said McDowell. Were looking forward to testing ourselves against teams from throughout the country, not just Ontario.
Certainly, a number of our players have been through it the last three years and winning two has been really nice and very difficult. We know what a difficult task it is and were looking forward to the competition.
With two titles under his belt, McDowell who is in his 25th season at Queens and his Gaels are among the favourites entering the eight-team tournament, which begins this morning at 11 with the Ottawa
Gee-Gees facing the Cape Breton Capers, followed by the Gaels vs. Dalhousie Tigers at 1:30 p.m.
But this just may be the year that Queens can be dethroned as it enters competition as the Ontario bronze medallists, behind champion Ottawa and Laurier, which defeated the Gaels in penalty kicks in the conference semifinal.
I think were one of eight good teams here that could win it, said McDowell. Soccer is a funny game. On any one day, anybody can beat anybody. We have a certain advantage in having been here before and maybe knowing what it takes, but there are seven other good teams that have a shot at it.
Once you get here, anything can happen, added McDowell, who obviously benefits from the fact that a majority of his team has been in this position before. Experience tends to carry you through troubled times. Having players to walk [the inexperienced] through some of the things they are going to see and do is just so beneficial.
The Gaels are led offensively by CIS second-team all-star Jackie Tessier, who had 14 goals this OUA campaign, with Brittany Almeida and Breanna Burton adding 10 goals apiece. Jessie DeBoer is also a standout for Queens.
Its been an incredible journey all the way, but I dont think [a third title] is on our minds right now, said Tessier. Were taking this one step at a time. Its a completely new tournament. Everyone else can think, Oh, theyre defending champs and theyre back again. But were a completely different team and this is all completely new.
By the time you get to nationals, all these teams are so talented. They all definitely deserve to be here. There is no overlooking anyone here, or planning ahead. Its one at a time and all there is for us right now is Dalhousie.
CORNER KICKS: Rounding out quarter-final play today are Canada West-champion Trinity Western vs. Laurier at
4:30 p.m. and Sherbrooke challenging the host UVic Vikes at 7 p.m. at Centennial Stadium.
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