Prairie Post (West Edition)
McLeod named Rookie of the Year; four Kodiaks named ACAC All-Stars
The Lethbridge College Kodiaks men’s and women’s soccer teams were well represented as the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) handed out its 2022 soccer awards Oct. 27
Four Kodiaks student-athletes were named to the ACAC All-Conference team. Midfielder Olivia DePasquale and defender Taylor Hrycun were selected from the Kodiaks women’s team, while midfielder Brian Sure and defender Joel McLeod were honoured from the men’s team.
McLeod was also named the south division rookie of the year, recognizing a breakout season for the centre-back from Medicine Hat who started the year as a walk-on player for the Kodiaks.
“Joel had probably the best first year season I’ve ever seen,” says Kodiaks men’s and women’s soccer head coach Sean Carey. “He’s got that air of confidence and organization about him. He’s just a pleasure on and off the field, and I’m so glad he was recognized. He was our player of the year, and I’m glad the other coaches across the ACAC saw that as well.”
Sure also impressed during his debut season, bursting onto the scene and immediately becoming an impact player for a young Kodiaks roster. The rookie scored two goals and added three assists in 10 games.
“He’s one of those players who impacts the game anywhere you play him,” says Carey. “We’ve had him at central midfield, we’ve had him at defense, and he just finds a way to be in the play. He scored a wondergoal at Ambrose to win our first game of the season. He’s had such a consistent season and he’s such a great person to be around as well.”
On the women’s side, DePasquale earned her second consecutive ACAC All-Conference selection after another dominant year in the Kodiaks midfield. The team captain scored five goals and added eight assists in 12 games.
“She’s so consistent. The coaches around the league are aware of her, and they’ve mentioned to me how much they love to watch her play,” Carey says. “It shows she’s made a big impact on this league. She’s shown great leadership with our younger group of girls, making sure they stay focused on what our main goal is this year. I consider myself lucky to be able to coach Olivia through her schooling.”
Joining DePasquale on the all-conference team was Kodiaks newcomer Taylor Hrycun, who joined the Kodiaks after previously playing three seasons at The King’s University in Edmonton. The physical centre-back instantly solidified the Kodiaks back line all season and was also an offensive threat with her heavy shot and ability to win headers off of set plays. She tallied three goals and three assists through 11 games.
“I’ve said from the beginning of the season that Taylor is one of the best centre-backs we’ve ever had at Lethbridge College,” says Carey. “This girl is allstar all the time. She’s a leader, she demands a lot from her back line and her teammates, and that’s what leaders do. She’s been a rock back there for us. She’s physical, she can distribute the ball and she has a cannon of a shot. I just love her game.”
The Kodiaks hosted the ACAC soccer awards banquet inside the Val Matteotti Gymnasium on Thursday evening to kick-off the 2022 ACAC Soccer Championships, which is being presented by the Southern Alberta Homes team at Royal Lepage South Country. The championships begin with four quarterfinal games on Friday at Comet Stadium in Raymond. The Kodiaks women’s team begins their championships journey with a 12:30 p.m. matchup against Keyano College, while the Kodiaks men take the field at 3 p.m. against The King’s University.
The complete 2022 ACAC Soccer Championships schedule is available online.