Kodiaks come out of hibernation – open ACAC soccer season this weekend

Sept. 8, 2016 – The Lethbridge College Kodiaks soccer teams kick off their new ACAC seasons on their home pitch this weekend.

The Kodiaks men’s and women’s teams both host SAIT on Saturday as the clubs look to build off very successful campaigns last year. Under the guidance of head coach Mike Racz, who handled both teams for the first time last year, both Kodiaks men’s and women’s teams made the playoffs in the same season for the first time in the college’s history in 2015.

“Opening weekend, with the official start of school, is always the best time of year,” says Todd Caughlin, Lethbridge College Athletics manager. “The level of excitement on campus and having all of the student athletes back around the gym just makes life better. The Kodiaks had a great 2015-16, and 2016-17 has the potential to be just as successful. Opening the season against our south rival, SAIT, just adds to the anticipation, and I can’t wait to see our Kodiaks get to work.”

Last season the Kodiaks men won the ACAC south division and advanced all the way to the provincial championship game, coming away with a silver medal. This year, the team will attempt to reload after its top four scorers - including reigning CCAA MVP Nico Pasquotti, who has moved on to the University of Lethbridge – and starting goalkeeper all moved on over the summer. However, the Kodiaks still bring experience, led by midfielder Andrew Southern and defender Logan Tataryn, who are each back for their final years of eligibility. Returning forwards Alex Opoka, Nathan Burton, Joel Arrieus and Keaton Craig will receive increased opportunity to replace the goals lost from last season.

The Kodiaks women made the ACAC playoffs for a second straight year last season, finishing second in the ACAC south division with a sterling 5-1-4 record. They, too, will have a new look this season as they start the new year without their top five scorers from last season. The team will look to build from the back out and will look to key returning players including goalkeeper Vicki Noronha and defender Jillian Dalgado. Midfielder Mikayla Luettecke, who is returning for her fourth year, is the most experienced member of the Kodiaks.

The Kodiaks and Trojans play Saturday, with the women’s game at noon, followed by the men at 2 p.m. at the Servus Soccer Centre. The Kodiaks are on the road on Sunday at Olds College.