AL­WAYS CA­PERS

Alumni make Ca­pers soc­cer women feel at home in Ot­tawa.

Cape Breton Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY JEREMY FRASER jeremy.fraser@cb­post.com Twit­ter: @CBPost_Jeremy

For the Cape Bre­ton Ca­pers women’s soc­cer team, Thurs­day morn­ing’s open­ing game of the U Sports Na­tional Cham­pi­onship in Ot­tawa felt al­most like a home game.

When the Cape Bre­ton squad walked onto the field to play the Western Mus­tangs of Lon­don, Ont., in quar­ter-fi­nal ac­tion, the club was wel­comed by an es­ti­mated 100 cheer­ing Ca­pers fans at Gee-Gees Field.

The fans, wear­ing or­ange sweaters and toques and hold­ing signs and ban­ners, in­cluded fam­ily, friends, school and soc­cer alumni as well as staff mem­bers.

Ca­pers soc­cer alum­nus Chelsea Cur­rie of Cox­heath was among those fans who braved the chilly No­vem­ber morn­ing to cheer on the At­lantic Uni­ver­sity Sport cham­pi­ons.

“I had brought a cou­ple of friends from school, who had never been to the East Coast, so I was ex­cited to ex­pose them to the ‘or­ange army,’” said Cur­rie, who played five years with the women’s soc­cer pro­gram from 2012-16.

“I was ex­pect­ing a good crowd, but it still sur­prised me with how big the crowd was, con­sid­er­ing how far away Ot­tawa is from home — it was pretty ex­cit­ing.”

Cur­rie wasn’t the only soc­cer

alumni in at­ten­dance for the game. Karolyne Blain, the AUS and Ca­pers women’s all­time goal scorer, and Alyssa Arm­strong were also in the stands.

“I com­pletely carved out my sched­ule to make sure I was in at­ten­dance,” said Arm­strong, who is cur­rently work­ing as a coun­cil­lor’s as­sis­tant in Ot­tawa.

“I wasn’t able to watch the girls play this sea­son, so when I found out that Ot­tawa was host­ing the tour­na­ment and that the Ca­pers were com­ing, I was su­per-ex­cited for the chance to re­con­nect with some of the girls and coaches.”

This year’s Ca­pers team has three play­ers from the Ot­tawa area in­clud­ing AUS most valu­able player Ciera Disi­pio, Chan­tal Caron, and Amelia Car­lini, who scored the open­ing goal of the game for Cape Bre­ton and was named the con­test’s player of the game.

Along with ban­ners and signs, many fans used thun­der­sticks and bells to cheer the team to vic­tory.

“It was loud, but in the best way,” laughed Cur­rie when asked about the at­mos­phere in the stands.

“There were chil­dren there from schools from the Ot­tawa area — I think on a field trip — and when we started chant­ing ‘Go Ca­pers Go,’ they would re­peat it and I don’t even think they knew what it meant.”

De­spite the fo­cus be­ing on the Ca­pers fans, there were Mus­tangs sup­port­ers in at­ten­dance as well.

“I’m sure Western had some fans in the crowd, but we took up a good sec­tion of the bleach­ers and we were louder, which was nice to see,” laughed Arm­strong, a St. John’s, N.L., na­tive, who played five years with the Ca­pers from 2013-18.

“Even be­fore we got to the field, I could see the crowd wear­ing or­ange, which was su­per-uplift­ing and I know the girls re­ally liked the sup­port.”

At­tend­ing the game was a top pri­or­ity for Cur­rie, who is cur­rently tak­ing her masters de­gree at the Uni­ver­sity of Ot­tawa, the host school for the tour­na­ment.

“I feel like even af­ter you’re done with Cape Bre­ton Uni­ver­sity, you al­ways feel part of it, so get­ting to be there and re­ally sup­port­ing the girls was im­por­tant to me — it was like school and home came to me again,” said Cur­rie.

Cur­rie re­mem­bers when ex­pec­ta­tions were never re­ally high for CBU to win a na­tional ti­tle.

“The Ca­pers were a team that ev­ery­one wanted to play be­cause they as­sumed it would be an easy win,” said Cur­rie. “CBU is the team ev­ery­one is afraid of now and they know who they are and what they’re go­ing to bring in the game.”

On the field, Cape Bre­ton de­feated Western 2-0, ad­vanc­ing to the U Sports na­tional semi­fi­nal game on Satur­day against Trin­ity Western.

Game time is 11 a.m. At­lantic time.

Cur­rie and Arm­strong both con­firmed they will be in the stands sup­port­ing the Ca­pers on Satur­day morn­ing with the rest of the “or­ange army.”

Re­gard­less of the out­come Satur­day, the Ca­pers will play for a medal on Sun­day, ei­ther in the bronze medal game at 1:30 p.m. or the cham­pi­onship game at 4 p.m.

Ca­pers soc­cer alumni Michelle Goulet and Joanne De­lahunt also con­firmed on Face­book their in­ten­tions to sup­port the team from the stands on Sun­day.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO/U SPORTS

Cape Bre­ton Ca­pers sup­port­ers pose for a pic­ture dur­ing the U Sports Na­tional Women’s Soc­cer Cham­pi­onship at Gee-Gees Field in Ot­tawa, Ont., on Thurs­day. An es­ti­mated 100 fam­ily, friends, alumni and staff at­tended the game, tak­ing up a good por­tion of the stands, to sup­port the Ca­pers against the Western Mus­tangs.

Cur­rie

Arm­strong

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