The University of Victoria Vikes' women's soccer coach Tracy David will have the luxury of doing a little experimenting this Canada West season.
The Vikes know that they will be playing soccer in November as they are the host team for the Canadian Interuniversity Sport Championship at Centennial Stadium.
"I have a very interesting group of players this year and I'm comfortable playing any of them in the starting lineup,'' said David. "When you have so many good players, it is difficult to keep them all happy with playing time. Because we are so deep, who to dress in any particular game is a nice problem to have.''
David has a total of 28 players, including three goalkeepers.
"I can try a lot of different things during the season and hopefully we will have everything figured out by the time the nationals are here.
"I really like this group of players as they work hard for each other. I think this group has really matured as their level of understanding is so much better.''
The Vikes open the season today at 5 p.m. against the Alberta Pandas at Centennial Stadium. On Saturday, another 5 p.m. start, the Vikes will meet Mount Royal University from Calgary.
David's team will be attempting to emulate what the men Vikes did on home ground last year with a CIS championship.
"We are basically in the same position as the men last year and hopefully the end result will be the same.''
When David talks about her team, defence and fitness are always mentioned.
"Our main focus is to deny goals,'' said David. "We have to challenge the other teams to try and score and I think we have the players to do that.
"This team came to camp in great shape. You can't replace fitness or speed and we will be fast this year.''
Some of the players expected to have an offensive impact for the Vikes are rookie Sarah Douglas, Lindsay Hoetzel, Emma Greig and Janelle Smith.
"Sarah [Douglas] is a very crafty player. She is a great scorer and she really adds to our squad.''
Douglas played with the Glenlyon Norfolk high school team last year and the Super-20 Highlanders' squad.
"Janelle [Smith] was with the team when we won the national championship in 2005. She knows what it takes to win the nationals.''
Other key returnees for David are third-year midfielder Jaclyn Sawicki, veteran midfielder Jacqueline Harrison and fifth-year goalkeeper Steph Parker.
Sawicki recently competed with Canada at the FIFA Under-20 Junior World Cup in Japan.
Last year, Sawicki was a Canada West all-star and CIS second team All-Canadian. She also led the CIS in assists.
Harrison and Parker are key players for the Vikes on defence and also provide leadership.
"Alberta, UBC and Trinity Western will be very strong this year,'' said David. "Trinity Western won the Canada West crown last year and went to the nationals, along with Alberta.''
The CIS Championship is at Centennial Stadium from Nov. 8-11.