By Matt Oakes
Goaltending is crucial in the game of soccer. In a sport where scoring a goal is a momentous occasion, most battles are won and lost between the pipes. Soccer prides itself in defence first and the team that takes care of its own end first usually comes through on top.
This year’s edition of the women’s soccer team has to be thrilled with the play of second-year goaltender Taryn Swiatek whose five-game shutout streak has heads turning all over the university soccer scene. Yet, when asked about her fantastic play she replies with remarks of modesty and praise for the play of her teammates. She has a high regard for the defensive play of the team and declares that her individual success is a direct result of the team play around her.
Swiatek’s young yet accomplished career began at the age of 12 while playing Calgary community soccer for the Celtics. Later, as a member of the Western Canada High School Redmen she played on four Alberta provincial teams winning three gold medals and a silver.
After high school, the decision to attend the University of Calgary became an easy one. She became a Dino not only because she knew there was a chance of becoming the starting netminder, but also because she received an engineering entrance scholarship. During her first season with the team she solidified the goaltending position and had an immediate and positive impact on the team.
The soft-spoken engineering major believes balancing study with sport is not as difficult as many would believe. All it takes is the proper use of time. When asked to summarize herself she responded in a single word, "focused." This aptly describes her dedication to both academics and athletics.
This year there has been no shortage of success for the Dinos’ leading ladies. The women’s soccer team skyrocketed into first place in the Canada West division and into second overall in the CIAU standings with their gutsy play. The feeling is that nothing short of a national championship berth will satisfy the team.
Earlier this season, the modest Swiatek received the honour of Canada West Player of the Week after two consecutive shutouts against Alberta and Saskatchewan. Yet few believed that shutouts would become the norm.
Both the academic and athletic future for Swiatek looks good. Sporting wise, she is quick to add that there is life after university soccer. She has already attended numerous camps with the women’s national team and has plans to join the side after her studies at the university are over. Academically, after she completes her degree in mechanical engineering she plans to pursue a career in architecture.
Whether or not she lets in a goal this year, her contribution will continue to be invaluable to the squad. The U of C is proud she is a member of our collective and we look forward to enjoying many more years of Taryn Swiatek backstopping the women to soccer success.