MWFL: Will lucky “10” hold a Vipers repeat?

Will the Moncton Vipers repeat as champions in 2013?

As the Maritime Women’s Football League (MWFL) begins their tenth season on Saturday, that is one of the many questions that remains to be answered.  Do the Gladiators have enough talent and depth to finally hoist the Judy Upward Trophy?  Will the Storm overcome the disappointment of last season and rise to the occasion?  Does the tide turn for the Halifax Xpolsion?

On Saturday, the Fredericton Gladiators travel to take on the Halifax Explosion.  Kickoff is 1:00pm.  Meanwhile, the Moncton Vipers will host the Saint John Storm.  Game time is 4:00pm.

Here are the teams competing in the MWFL in 2013:


2012 RECORD: 5-1 regular season record (first),  won MWFL SupHer Bowl by defeating Federicton RV World Lady Gladiators 49-42.

The defending champions will be a powerful force on the field in their quest to hoist the Judy Upward Trophy.

“The team is filled with individual talent and a good core of hard working athletes, who want to play hard on every down,” says the Vipers Marie-Noelle Beaulieu.

However, there is one key area where the team has a concern going into this season.

“Our numbers, we do not have many girls on the roster unfortunately, but continuing our recruiting efforts, hoping to pick up a few more girls in the upcoming weeks,” explains Beaulieu.

Additionally, the Vipers will have to deal with significant losses to their championship roster.

“Due to injuries, Justine Barter and Sheryl Vallee will not be playing this summer, but will be a part of our coaching staff,” added Beaulieu.  “Lisa Bourque and Mel Arsenault, from the line are not playing this year unfortunately.”

“Some other players were have lost are Heather LeBlanc, Abby White, Amber Wilson, Janelle Brine and Caisie Liberatore.”

However, new rookies that the team has recruited will bring much needed intensity to the team.

Overall, the defending champions cannot wait for the MWFL’s 10th season to begin.

“Being the 10th annual league anniversary, this season will be very exciting and fun as each game should be a fun event,” comments Beaulieu.  “Furthermore, following last year where an Atlantic team had been created to compete in the National Challenge in Montreal, it was felt as though this brought the teams closer together.”

“Yes there are still healthy rivalries between the teams, but an increased sense of family and community appeared to have grown and brought the women Maritime players together last year. As women’s football in the Maritimes evolve every year and grow into a more intense and competitive league, I think there will be many wonderful moments created this year, not to mention great surprises!”

KEY RETURNEES:  Jenny Miller, Jeannie Bourgeois, Marie-Noëlle Beaulieu, Tara Keohan, Tina Therriault, Karen Newcomb, Karen Lewis, Christina Bernard, Chris Leblanc, Michelle Girouard, Lucie Kelly, Tina Hetherington and Mel Leger.  Past Vipers Jill Forbes and Samantha Burke have rejoined the team once again.

KEY LOSSES: Justine Barter, Sheryl Vallee, Lisa Bourque, Mel Arsenault, Heather LeBlanc, Abby White, Amber Wilson, Janelle Brine and Caisie Liberatore

ROOKIES TO WATCH: , Emma Waterman, Lynne Duplessis, Felicia Turcotte, Jenn Brander, Jen Miller, Kim Sinclair, Marie Beaudry and Christine Losier.

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2012 RECORD: 5-1 regular season record (second), lost in semifinals 21-7 to Fredericton RV World Lady Gladiators

If the Storm could define their team this season, it would be “athletic”.

“We have added 4 or 5 athletic players and also had many of our players train for Team Canada,” explained Storm defensive coordinator Larry Harlow.

With many returning players, all eyes will be on versatile player, Lisa Harlow.

“Lisa Harlow is one of two original players from 2004 in the MWFL,” said the Storm’s defensive coordinator.  “She plays quarterback, running back and can play defensive lineman, linebacker and special teams.”

Additionally, the other original Storm player will be a key returnee.

“Kara Filmore the other original player plays offensive line and defensive line,” added Harlow.

While they will have experience on their side, the Storm has lost running back Kendra Jones.  However, tight end Gillian Leblanc and strong safety Kaitlynn Girouard have joined the team and will be looked upon to contribute on the field.

The Storm’s offensive unit is where their key strength lies.  However, there are two key areas of concern the team has but hope to conquer them as the season progresses.

“This year we are bigger and faster with four good receivers,” explains the Storm’s defensive coordinator,” explains the Storm’s defensive coordinator.  “We probably aren’t where we should be in understanding the game so we will be mid-season before we get it.”

“We still have a couple of key injuries. I expect us to be slow out of the gate but be peaking by end of season.”

KEY RETURNEES: Lisa Harlow, Kara Fillmore, Jill Cox, Ashlee Clements, Kristie Perry, Melissa Daley, Amy Salter,  Jill Dubee, Michelle Young Mather, Robin Richardson, Merab Klein, Lori Boyles, and Trina Graves

KEY LOSS: Kendra Jones (running back)

ROOKIES TO WATCH: Gillian Leblanc, Kaitlynn Girouard



2012 SEASON RECORD:  2-4 (third), lost SupHer Bowl Championship game to Moncton Vipers 49-42

The Gladiators hope they have what it takes to win the league championship by playing an exciting brand of football this season.

“Athleticism and a diverse group of high level athletes from various sports gives us great depth at all positions, when matched up with a strong and experienced coaching staff,” explains Gladiators head coach Steve Drisdelle.  “We feel this Gladiator team will make for one of the strongest teams it has fielded.”

While this team has an abundance of depth, the one area that could potentially hurt them is experience.

“Experience at several key positions will prove to be the biggest challenge to the Gladiators success this season,” says Drisdelle.  “We have a wealth of experience in some positions and some first time players at others, the key to overcoming this will be to draw on the veterans until our first year players can get their bearings on the field.”

If all the pieces fall into place at the right time, the Gladiators will become a strong leading contender for league supremacy.

“If we can avoid the injury bug that plagued us during the regular season we should very much be one of the most exciting teams to take the field this year,” adds Drisdelle.

KEY RETURNEES:  Alex Black (quarterback), Kristen Chatterton (linebacker), Robyn Neill (offensive line), Tammy Nash (linebacker), April Wilson (offensive line), Tori Jewett (defensive back), Lucie Yerxa (running back)

KEY LOSSES: Jill Blanchard (wide receiver), Emma Hicks (linebacker), Michelle McLeod (slotback, running back) and Edna Jewett (defensive end/linebacker)

ROOKIES TO WATCH: Sarah Grey (running back), Tamara Colson (linebacker) and Abby Nash (linebacker/kicker)


2012 RECORD:  0-6 (fourth place), were defeated in semi-finals 41-0 at hands of Moncton Vipers

Since the last couple of years have been rocky, the Xplosion are dedicated in reversing their fortunes this season.

“We have had a rough couple of season as far as the standings go but no matter what the ladies keep showing up and we keep working hard to get better and better,” comments the Xplosion’s Tasha Walsh.  “No matter what has happened we have remained a strong group who just keep pushing for more of ourselves.”

While dedication is the strength of the Xplosion, Walsh says there are two major weaknesses the team will have this season.

“Over the last few seasons, we have had a big change over in coaching so it has been hard to focus the team,” explains Walsh.  “On the field, it would be containing the sweep!”

Two significant losses for the Xplosion are the Archibald sisters, who have been two dependable mainstays of the team for many seasons.

“Katie and Cassy Archibald have been a part of the team family for so long and fantastic players,” added Walsh.

Quite simply, the Xplosion have one goal they want to achieve.

“A win,” says Walsh.

KEY RETURNEES: Ashley Howatt (quarterback), Niamh Bermingham (offensive line), Karen Lelonde (offensive line), Alanna Keats (center), Lindsay Bennett (defense), Sarah Attwell (defense), Terri Smith-Fraser and Emily Armsworthy.

KEY LOSSES: Katie Archibald, Cassy Archibald

ROOKIES TO WATCH: Dianne Ikeda, Nikky Adams



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