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Living the Dream: Acadia’s Emma Connell number one in nets


WOLFVILLE - After two years of biding her time and learning the ropes, Emma Connell is now the number-one keeper for the Acadia women’s soccer team.

Connell, a native of Hampton, Annapolis County, is now in her third year with the Axewomen.

The year she graduated from high school, Connell attended an U-18 prospects camp. “It was a last-minute decision to come to Acadia,” she said. “I had visited other schools, but I met with (coach Amit Batra) and figured Acadia was a good fit for me.”

She came with realistic expectations.

“I didn’t expect to play right away, but I knew if I put in the work, I would be rewarded, and that’s what has happened,” she said.

 

Keeper of the net

Connell has always been a keeper, from her younger days when everyone on the team took their turn in goal.

“There’s no real specific reason,” she said. “It seemed to come naturally to me, so I kept it up.”

Around age 14 or 15, she started specific training as a keeper. At 16, she began playing Tier 1 soccer with Valley United, and still plays for the Valley senior women’s team in the summers.

Her first year at Acadia, she ended up “backing up two very talented keepers, “ Carrie Wood and Taylor Grant. Last season, she backed up Wood, who completed her CIS eligibility last season.

In the first two regular season games on Sept. 11 and 13, Connell allowed one goal while watching her teammates score 12 times.

“The first game, against Saint Mary’s, I didn’t face many shots, so it was hard to stay mentally engaged. Against Dal, we still won big, but I had more shots.”

With Connell in her third year, Batra recruited a keeper this off-season in Sarah Charnock.

“Sarah is a great recruit,” Connell said. “It’s great for training having her here, and good competition for both of us.”

As an added bonus, Wood is still around this fall as part of the coaching staff. She’s working directly with Connell and Charnock.

“I learned a lot from her the past two seasons, and it’s great having her still involved,” Connell adds.

 

National focus

The Axewomen already know they will be hosting the CIS nationals next fall, but Connell isn’t letting that distract her.

“It’s always in the back of your mind, but we’re trying to keep it in the background and focus on this season,” she said.

Acadia, she said, needs to have a good season this fall “to make sure we’re ready and prepared to compete next year.”

Connell already knows she will still be at Acadia next year, which will be her fourth, and probably final, season.

The Axewomen have fairly high expectations this fall after making it to the conference semifinals a year ago.

“So far, we’re looking really good. First of all, everyone has to be prepared, then commit to making the team better.”

To an already impressive core, Batra has brought in some great recruits, she said. Two of the new players, Rachelle Aucoin and Jenna Boudreau, had goals on the weekend.

 

Strong defence

A big part of her success as a keeper is a rock-solid defence, led by centre backs Emily Nickerson and Candace Conrad, said Connell.

“They’re super experienced, and work really well together,” Connell said, adding that second-year player Nicole Wamboldt has stepped up and been added to the defensive unit.

She also has a long history with Nickerson.

“She’s been my centre back since U-16. We’ve played a lot of games together.”

The past few seasons, Acadia has concentrated on having a compact, defensive unit that works well together.

“Even when we didn’t score, we still had a chance for a point.”

This season, the team’s focus has switched to offence “and being more of a two-way team, but I still have every confidence in all of our defenders,” she said.

Although 12 goals is a lot to score in two games to begin the season, Connell was not all that surprised.

“One of the biggest factors in our offence is that Meghan (Earle) and Kinsella (Noseworthy-Smith) are lining up so well up top.”

Earle had four goals in a 6-0 win over Saint Mary’s, while Noseworthy-Smith had three in a 6-1 victory over Dalhousie.

Connell says she has no regrets at choosing Acadia.

“It’s been a great fit for me. The small community and family-like atmosphere is amazing. The program is great, I’ve met some of my best friends here, and I’m not too far away from home to visit.”

All about Emma Connell

  1. Emma Connell is studying towards a Bachelor of Science in psychology with kinesiology but hasn’t decided what her future plans might entail. “I’ve thought some about sport psychology, but no clear ideas yet.”
  2. She enjoys coaching, something she’s tried the last two years. Last year, she worked as a technical assistant for Valley Soccer.
  3. She graduated from Bridgetown High School in 2013

 

Connell, a native of Hampton, Annapolis County, is now in her third year with the Axewomen.

The year she graduated from high school, Connell attended an U-18 prospects camp. “It was a last-minute decision to come to Acadia,” she said. “I had visited other schools, but I met with (coach Amit Batra) and figured Acadia was a good fit for me.”

She came with realistic expectations.

“I didn’t expect to play right away, but I knew if I put in the work, I would be rewarded, and that’s what has happened,” she said.

 

Keeper of the net

Connell has always been a keeper, from her younger days when everyone on the team took their turn in goal.

“There’s no real specific reason,” she said. “It seemed to come naturally to me, so I kept it up.”

Around age 14 or 15, she started specific training as a keeper. At 16, she began playing Tier 1 soccer with Valley United, and still plays for the Valley senior women’s team in the summers.

Her first year at Acadia, she ended up “backing up two very talented keepers, “ Carrie Wood and Taylor Grant. Last season, she backed up Wood, who completed her CIS eligibility last season.

In the first two regular season games on Sept. 11 and 13, Connell allowed one goal while watching her teammates score 12 times.

“The first game, against Saint Mary’s, I didn’t face many shots, so it was hard to stay mentally engaged. Against Dal, we still won big, but I had more shots.”

With Connell in her third year, Batra recruited a keeper this off-season in Sarah Charnock.

“Sarah is a great recruit,” Connell said. “It’s great for training having her here, and good competition for both of us.”

As an added bonus, Wood is still around this fall as part of the coaching staff. She’s working directly with Connell and Charnock.

“I learned a lot from her the past two seasons, and it’s great having her still involved,” Connell adds.

 

National focus

The Axewomen already know they will be hosting the CIS nationals next fall, but Connell isn’t letting that distract her.

“It’s always in the back of your mind, but we’re trying to keep it in the background and focus on this season,” she said.

Acadia, she said, needs to have a good season this fall “to make sure we’re ready and prepared to compete next year.”

Connell already knows she will still be at Acadia next year, which will be her fourth, and probably final, season.

The Axewomen have fairly high expectations this fall after making it to the conference semifinals a year ago.

“So far, we’re looking really good. First of all, everyone has to be prepared, then commit to making the team better.”

To an already impressive core, Batra has brought in some great recruits, she said. Two of the new players, Rachelle Aucoin and Jenna Boudreau, had goals on the weekend.

 

Strong defence

A big part of her success as a keeper is a rock-solid defence, led by centre backs Emily Nickerson and Candace Conrad, said Connell.

“They’re super experienced, and work really well together,” Connell said, adding that second-year player Nicole Wamboldt has stepped up and been added to the defensive unit.

She also has a long history with Nickerson.

“She’s been my centre back since U-16. We’ve played a lot of games together.”

The past few seasons, Acadia has concentrated on having a compact, defensive unit that works well together.

“Even when we didn’t score, we still had a chance for a point.”

This season, the team’s focus has switched to offence “and being more of a two-way team, but I still have every confidence in all of our defenders,” she said.

Although 12 goals is a lot to score in two games to begin the season, Connell was not all that surprised.

“One of the biggest factors in our offence is that Meghan (Earle) and Kinsella (Noseworthy-Smith) are lining up so well up top.”

Earle had four goals in a 6-0 win over Saint Mary’s, while Noseworthy-Smith had three in a 6-1 victory over Dalhousie.

Connell says she has no regrets at choosing Acadia.

“It’s been a great fit for me. The small community and family-like atmosphere is amazing. The program is great, I’ve met some of my best friends here, and I’m not too far away from home to visit.”

All about Emma Connell

  1. Emma Connell is studying towards a Bachelor of Science in psychology with kinesiology but hasn’t decided what her future plans might entail. “I’ve thought some about sport psychology, but no clear ideas yet.”
  2. She enjoys coaching, something she’s tried the last two years. Last year, she worked as a technical assistant for Valley Soccer.
  3. She graduated from Bridgetown High School in 2013

 

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