Whitehorse Daily Star

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TOP STRIKER – Whitehorse native Emily Fedoriak played a leading role in the SAIT Trojans’ winniest soccer season this year. She was her team’s top scorer with nine goals in 10 games. Photo by Andrew Crossett/SAIT Trojans

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Photo by Andrew Crossett/SAIT Trojans

Yukon striker helps team to collegiate provincial championships

With 35 seconds left in the half, Emily Fedoriak finds the back of the net.

By Marissa Tiel on October 26, 2016

With 35 seconds left in the half, Emily Fedoriak finds the back of the net.

In the SAIT Trojans women’s soccer team third game of the season, the second-year striker would find the net once more in the game to help the team to a 3-0 win over the Olds College Broncos.

Their third game of the season, a balmy noon start in the heart of Alberta prairie farmland, and the Trojans were already ahead of last year’s record, a dismal 0-7-3.

Under coach John Talerico, in his freshman season as the head coach for the lady Trojans, the team’s offence struggled, barely able to score. They managed a paltry three goals over the entire season.

But late this summer, things started to change for the team. More than 30 players tried out, the largest number coach Talerico said he’d seen in a decade.

Fedoriak, 24, who had played her first season with the Trojans when they were struggling, said she noticed a change in team dynamics with the addition of some new talent this fall.

She has been working on her own fitness as well, and working on game strategy and literacy so she can be in the best possible place to score when her team feeds her the ball.

“It’s pretty cool,” she said, “The improvement that I’ve seen not only in myself, but in my team.”

Working together with Mataya Blackney, the two have been the leading scorers for the Trojans all season.

In their penultimate game of the regular season, the Trojans didn’t back down.

Facing off against the Red Deer College Queens on Red Deer turf, last Saturday afternoon, Fedoriak got the Trojans on the board in the 36th minute.

She got her second of the game in the 45th minute with a header goal off a pass from Blakney.

With the second goal, Fedoriak tied Blakney for the most goals scored by a Trojans player this year, at eight.

“They work really well together,” said Talerico in a press release after the win.

“It’s been a dream come true, just in terms of their ability to finish together.”

The victory over Red Deer on the weekend was extra sweet as the Trojans netted their seventh win of the regular season, the most by any lady Trojans soccer team.

The previous record of six was set in 2002. That team went on to win the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference championships over city rivals, Mount Royal College and then a bronze medal at the national level.

Fedoriak travelled a twisted road before she came to play this winning season with the Trojans.

In 2009 she suffered a serious injury that kept her off the soccer pitch.

She attended secondary school at the University of Calgary, but never laced up her soccer cleats for the school’s Dinos.

“I’ve always really loved the sport,” she said. “The biggest part was missing that team environment.”

Fedoriak got her start playing soccer with the Whitehorse Minor Soccer League when she was eight years old.

“I loved the opportunity that the Yukon gave me with soccer,” she said.

She credits her success at the collegiate level to being able to travel and face high-level teams with Yukon soccer programs – an opportunity some rural Albertans don’t get.

It gave her experience playing against big teams, which she carried with her onto the pitch with the Trojans.

In 2015 she started a conversation with the Trojans soccer staff. She would be attending the urban Calgary college for a three-year respiratory program and played a bit with some of the team.

Her return to the soccer pitch was sealed.

“It’s one thing in my life that I really missed,” she said. “It makes going to school that much better.”

In the Trojans final regular season game on Sunday, they fell short of increasing their winning record to eight, but Fedoriak did add another goal to her tally, making her the Trojans’ leading scorer this season with nine goals.

“It’s a huge privilege,” she said. “I can’t do it alone. The plays coming from my teammates make it easy to score.”

Now the SAIT women’s soccer team switches their focus to the ACAC women’s soccer championship in Edmonton this weekend. They enter the tournament as the South Division’s second seed, behind Medicine Hat College, which has an 8-1 record going into the weekend.

In third seed for the South Division and two wins behind SAIT is Olds College.

On the Northern Division side is NAIT, with a 9-0 record, Grande Prairie Regional College (8-2) and Concordia University of Edmonton at 6-3.

The Northern and Southern divisions don’t face each other in regular season, so the weekend’s tournament will feature new match-ups.

Olds College and Grande Prairie will face off in the first quarter-final on Friday, while the Trojans will have to take out host Concordia in the other quarter-final to advance to a Saturday semi against NAIT. As the top teams in their divisions, both NAIT and Medicine Hat College received byes for the quarter-final rounds.

The last time that SAIT won an ACAC title was in the 2002/03 season. They went on to win a bronze medal at the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association Championship.

“It’s one game at a time,” said SAIT head coach Talerico in an Oct. 23 press release. “We don’t know that much about the north other than the top three teams are really quality teams.”

Fedoriak said that the north teams are strong, but is pleased she’s competing with her team.

“We’re feeling pretty confident,” she said. “We know what we’re capable of doing.”

Thursday evening also marks an awards night, during which Fedoriak has heard whispers that she could be named to an all-star team.

She is fourth in the ACAC for most goals scored this season.

“People keep telling me I have a good chance,” she said.

The Trojans begin their quest for an ACAC finals berth against Concordia University Friday afternoon at 2 p.m. The semifinals run Saturday with the final taking place Sunday.

Comments (2)

Up 2 Down 0

Al Fedoriak on Oct 26, 2017 at 1:43 pm

As Yukon Grandparents Louise and I could not be more proud. Emily is as wonderful a person off the soccer pitch as she no doubt is on the pitch. Achieving the success that she has can only be done with the support of the entire team which she certainly has earned and deserves . She has obviously earned that support and respect just by being the wonderful person she is.

Up 6 Down 2

Elizabeth Prater on Oct 26, 2016 at 6:59 pm

Great article, but I'm biased as Emily is my granddaughter! Go Trojans. We are so proud of her accomplishments, and she worked very hard to earn these accolades.

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