by ACAC Sports Writer Curtis J. Phillips
Mataya Blakney likes her coffee.
Let's make that...loves her coffee.
"I always have a coffee before each game," said Blakney, a member of the SAIT Trojans women's soccer team. "Usually it is a Starbucks (free plug) and probably an hour-and-half before a game.
"It just wakes me up. Even a sip makes me more relaxed. "
Well, they must be double-double java as the Trojans have been on a role since the 5-foot-6 midfielder joined them for the 2016-2017 Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) campaign.
A year prior, 2015-2016, the Trojans finished with a record of seven losses and three ties.
It was a reversal of fortune for 2016-2017, with an improved performance of seven wins and three losses and a post season appearance, only to be knocked out in the quarterfinals by Concordia University of Edmonton Thunder 1-0.
Blakney would earn ACAC South All-Conference distinction.
Last season, 2017-2018, would find the Calgary-based school boasting a record of nine wins and one loss. Post season finding them in the bronze medal final, in which they fell to eventual ACAC champion Grande Prairie Regional College Wolves 1-0.
Blakney would finish the regular season with five goals and three assists in 10 games.
This year 2018-2019, Blakney's third with the team and fifth in post-secondary sport, the Trojans are currently ranked No. 3 in Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association polls.
They are currently undefeated in seven matches with 41 goals for and only one...that's right...one goal against.
Blakney, enrolled in Bachelor of Business Administration, has recorded 10 goals.
Not bad for the Dr. E.P. Scarlett High School graduate who had stepped away from soccer at one point.
It was after two seasons with the University of Calgary Dinos in U Sports, that Blakney, now 24, "decided to take some time away."
She explains further: "I took some time off and worked. There weren't any big travel trips or anything like that. I still practiced (with Dinos) as I wanted to stay connected with hopes of possibly coming back."
Coming back, meant enrolling at SAIT.
"It was in July or August 2016...just before the fall semester and I had a couple of friends that were going to SAIT and they were talking about how great a school it was. Plus my dad had gone there years ago and he wanted me to perhaps explore my options there. So I contacted the soccer coach in August and got into school. It was one of the best decisions I ever did. I never thought I would be back in a competitive (post-secondary) league again."
Blakney, is proud, and rightfully so, of the meteoric rise of the team.
"We have improved every season," said Blakney. "was cool to be part of such a great program. I was excited to play competitive soccer at this level."
Having dabbled in basketball, cross country, track and field and volleyball in junior high, the sport of soccer has been her sole athletic pursuit since high school.
"I love soccer," admits Blakney. "I had a chance to watch a couple of (professional men's) teams play in Barcelona (Spain) and I wish I was good as (Lionel) Messi. I got to see him score which was a highlight for me."
Blakney said this year's Trojans squad, "is looking really really good from every position to our bench. The work ethic is good and we have high hopes for the season."
As one of the older players on the team, Blakney says she, "tries to bring my experience from the Dinos and playing soccer at a high-level, to the field.
"I am not the most vocal person but I try to help them make good decisions while letting them know that I have their back."