Three Stars: Kamel, Bender, Kahler earn honours

Salma Kamel puts some heat on the Calgary Dinos defence during Sunday's match (Jefferson Hagen photo).
Salma Kamel puts some heat on the Calgary Dinos defence during Sunday's match (Jefferson Hagen photo).

MacEwan Athletics

EDMONTON – Women's soccer student-athlete Salma Kamel is the MacEwan Athletics' first star of the week after her performance in Sunday's match vs. Calgary.

Kamel threatened the Dinos' defence all day and was named MacEwan's player of the game during the 3-0 defeat.

Other athletes recognized this week include second star Natalie Bender of the women's hockey team and third star Brennan Kahler of the men's soccer team.

It's the first honour of the season for all three student-athletes.

1st STAR: Salma Kamel, F, women's soccer

Edmonton, AB, fifth-year, Arts

The veteran forward was named MacEwan's player of the game in a 3-0 defeat to the Calgary Dinos last Sunday after recording one shot on goal in 61 minutes.

Kamel was consistently the Griffins' top threat up top, creating several other chances on a day that wasn't meant to be for the team. Despite playing even with the Dinos in the run of play, the Griffins gave up three set-piece goals to lose.

Through two games in 2021, Kamel is searching for her first tally of the season, but it's only a matter of time for the Griffins' single-game Canada West goals record holder (four at Mount Royal University in 2019).

She will lead MacEwan into action on the road this weekend at Lethbridge (Saturday, noon) and MRU (Sunday, 1 p.m., both Canada West TV presented by Co-op).

Natalie Bender, shown during a 2019-20 game against NAIT, played well in the Griffins' preseason opener at Alberta last Saturday, making 24 saves in a 2-1 defeat (Joel Kingston photo).

2nd STAR: Natalie Bender, G, women's hockey

St. Albert, AB, fourth-year, Commerce

The veteran goaltender came up big in MacEwan's first non-conference game of the season, making 24 saves on 26 shots in a 2-1 loss to the Alberta Pandas.

Her presence settled down a young Griffins squad preparing for its inaugural campaign in Canada West against a storied Pandas program.

Bender particularly made several huge saves in the third period, giving her a team a chance right until the end.

She was named second star of the game.

Bender and the Griffins are set for two more exhibition games this weekend when they host Alberta on Friday (7 p.m.) and Calgary on Saturday (5 p.m., both Downtown Community Arena).

Griffins' rookie centre-back Brennan Kahler has been impressing in intra-squad games so far (Jefferson Hagen photo).

3rd STAR: Brennan Kahler, D, men's soccer

Edmonton, AB, first-year, Arts

The 6-foot-3 centre-back is quickly earning his stripes with the Griffins men's soccer team as they prepare for their 2021 season opener with a series of intra-squad matches.

In the latest game last Saturday, the Extreme FC product's impressive work rate caught the eyes of the coaches, who note he's improving every day.

Kahler and the Griffins will finally face another team when they open the 2021 Canada West season on Sept. 25 by hosting cross-town rival Alberta (2:30 p.m., Clareview Stadium, Canada West TV presented by Co-op).