Muskie girls set for Winnipeg

Lucas Punkari

With the final roster having been in place for about a week, Muskie girls’ soccer head coach Nicole Rogozinski has been working on getting her team into form as they get ready to compete in the St. John-Ravenscourt tournament this weekend in Winnipeg.
“After our exhibition game here against Rainy River last Tuesday [which the black-and-gold won 4-0], we wanted to get back down to basics,” Rogozinski noted.
“We want to play more of a passing game this year, where we really control the ball and have a solid first touch, so we have spent a lot of time working on that this week,” she explained.
“We’ve also done fitness drills as well, and we will be building up our game from there.”
This year’s Muskie squad features 21 players on the roster, with a fairly even split of returning faces and newcomers.
“We have 10 rookies on the team this year, and we also have a few players that are back on the team after they didn’t play last year,” Rogozinski noted.
“We’ve been together now as a team here for almost a month now, actually, after the tryout process, and we are already working really well together here, which I think should continue for the rest of the year,” third-year outside midfielder Alexis Hampe remarked.
After hitting the road after school tomorrow, the Muskies will open their tournament schedule Friday at noon against the Kildonan-East Reivers, with a meeting with the Westgate Wings to follow at 4 p.m.
The black-and-gold will conclude their Pool ‘B’ slate Saturday at 11 a.m. against the Oak Park Raiders, with the top two teams from each pool advancing to the playoff round later that day.
“The Winnipeg girls play all year round, so they have really good ball control and a good skill level,” Rogozinski said.
“We want to be at the same level as those teams are, which is why we are focusing so much this week on our passing and our first touch in practice.
“We don’t want to go down there looking [like] we are just running around the field with no idea of what we are doing,” she stressed.
The players themselves are looking forward to getting their first taste of competitive action this season, and also are excited about heading to Winnipeg for a tournament.
Fort High hasn’t been to the St. John-Ravenscourt event in a couple of seasons.
“We had one formatted tournament last year here, and while it was a good thing to have, it wasn’t as exciting as we were still at home,” noted second-year midfielder Taylor Hazel.
“So I’m really looking forward to heading out of town this weekend, and to also have an opportunity to play some different teams that you don’t often get a chance to play against,” she added.
“And it should also give our team a chance to gel even more heading into the season,” echoed fellow second-year midfielder Maryam Seid.
With their first two games of the NorWOSSA regular season set for next Wednesday here against the Dryden Eagles and Kenora Broncos, Rogozinski is hoping to use this weekend as a building block towards the upcoming campaign.
“My main goal for the team is to have our play be equal to the Winnipeg teams,” she remarked.
“They are usually at a higher skill level at this point of the year than we are, but if we can keep up with them, that will be a good start for us,” she added.