Bishop Mac trying to beat the ‘odds’
Celtic girls soccer team had great success in ’07, ’09, ’11 but are finally on a roll in an even year
GUELPH — The Bishop Macdonell Celtics are contemplating a different approach to this District 10 high school girls’ soccer season.
The Celtics are perennially contenders who seem to reach the final every other year. They were finalists in 2007, champions in 2009 and finalists again last year. In the 2008 and ’10, they were knocked out in the semifinals.
“That’s the difference this year,” Bishop Mac coach Phil DiNucci said. “We really want to use league play as a springboard to the playoffs as opposed to worrying about how well we do in the regular season. That means playing everybody more as opposed to trying to win every game.”
The Celtics remained undefeated in league play Thursday with a pair of 1-0 victories during the mini tournament at the Gryphon Soccer Complex. In both games, the Celtics made plenty of substitutions, sometimes replacing as many as five on the field.
As all eight teams in the league make the playoffs, the Celtics figure they’d be just as well off using the regular season to get ready for the playoffs.
“That’s going to be more of our philosophy this year,” DiNucci. “Everybody’s going to get a little bit more playing time experience so that if we have to call on some of the players, they’ve got some playing time behind them and they’re confident enough. That’s what we’re going to build on.”
Thursday, Bishop Mac defeated the Centre Wellington Falcons on a goal by Reighan Pflug and then nipped the Lourdes Crusaders on a goal by Erika McFarlane. The wins go with a scoreless tie with the Ross Royals earlier in the week.
“We’re in a happy place,” DiNucci said. “The girls are really motivated this year and they like one another a lot. Our expectations, while always high, aren’t unrealistic. I think they think they can play with all the teams in District 10 and play well.”
The Celtics feature a nice mix of ages as they have four players who are in Grade 12, four in Grade 11, six in Grade 10 and four in Grade 9.
For the younger players, especially those who play rep soccer, there is a bit of an adjustment period when it comes to the high school game as they could be playing against girls who are four years older.
“It’s a different kind of game,” DiNucci said. “It’s not always the finesse style of game where they’re playing with a lot of control so you’ve got to adapt to that. That’s an important element because any team can beat any other team on any given day. They realize now that it’s not about how good you are, it’s about if you can play against another team in the right way.”