Jefferson Hagen, MacEwan Athletics
EDMONTON – In whatever you do in life, if you can earn the nickname Star Power, you're doing something right.
That's what Meagan Lemoine is known as by her MacEwan Griffins women's soccer teammates and she'll never forget the moment it was bestowed upon her.
For the story, you have to go back more than six years ago to Oct. 3, 2015. Playing fullback at the time, she proceeded to go on a full-field run, dissecting the UFV Cascades defence to score the game-winning goal in MacEwan's 2-1 triumph.
While watching this, head coach Dean Cordeiro immediately had the Super Mario Brothers theme song on the brain.
"That's actually how I got my nickname Star Power," recalled Lemoine of her second career Canada West regular season goal – one of six she netted in her rookie season. "It has to do with the Mario star when you can run through everyone.
"Dean made a video of the highlight of the goal – me dribbling through a bunch of defenders and then putting it into the back of the net – and he put the theme song behind it. It was so funny."
That one now has a rival for the most memorable goal Lemoine has scored in her Canada West career. Last Saturday, when she headed in the 18th tally of her career – the game-winner in MacEwan's 2-0 win at Mount Royal University – she broke the program record for most Canada West regular season career goals by a Griffin.
The tally – coming off a rebound after Nikki Brodeur hit the crossbar – came with decidedly less fanfare than her Star Power goal as she didn't find out about the record until the bus ride home.
"It was a cool moment because I had no idea even going into this season that I was even close to breaking any records like that," she said. "It took me by surprise, but it was a good feeling."
Looking to add to the mark, which is one ahead of the tremendous output achieved by former Griffin Suekiana Choucair, Lemoine will lead the Griffins into a series against Lethbridge on Saturday and Sunday (both 12 p.m., Clarke Stadium, Canada West TV presented by Co-op).
"It's amazing that she's broken that record because she hasn't played as forward her entire career, playing a good portion of it as a defender," said Cordeiro, who admits he still gets the Super Mario earworm stuck in his head when Lemoine makes one of her inspired runs up the sideline.
"I couldn't be more proud of her and I'm sure there's more to come. We still have a few games left and I wouldn't be surprised if she added to that total."
Meagan Lemoine beats a UNBC defender down the sideline during an exhibition game in August. She earned the nickname 'Star Power' for a run through the UFV defence during her rookie season in 2015 (Chris Piggott photo).
In Sunday's contest, Lemoine will be one of five Griffins players feted as graduating seniors, joining captain Samantha Gouveia, Salma Kamel, Kaylin Hermanutz and Raeghan McCarthy in a post-game ceremony following their final regular season home game.
Her five-season career – spanned over six because she didn't play in 2016 – has been a special one and not just for the career goals record.
"From Day 1, she's brought something to the program that we'll never be able to replace," said Cordeiro. "She's willing to do whatever she can for the team – to help the team win and add to the atmosphere."
A centre-back her entire youth career, Lemoine was asked to switch to fullback when she first joined the Griffins in 2015. That makes the record all the more amazing as she played a defensive role for part of her five seasons.
"We knew we needed her around the goal more for more opportunities to score with less responsibility defensively," said Cordeiro. "And sure enough, we converted her to play as a winger in our front three and there was no looking back after that.
"Her versatility is a reflection of her character. She's always put the team first."
And the elephant in the room is we haven't even talked about yet is her incredible throw-in ability, which has been the class of the conference ever since she started. She is regularly used as a weapon to launch final-third throw-ins into the box like corner kicks – a rare ability that most men's players don't have, let alone those in the women's game.
"it's always been a natural ability for me," said Lemoine. "I've never made it a goal like, 'OK, I want to throw the ball very far.' Ever since youth, I've just been able to do it. I don't know if I have a flexible spine or what it is, but I've been able to do it.
"People always ask me, 'how do you do it or can you teach me?' I don't know what to tell you. It's crazy."
Meagan Lemoine throws the ball in against Victoria in a 2019 playoff match at Clarke Stadium. She has a rare ability to launch the ball 30 yards from the sidelines (Chris Piggott photo).
Lemoine, who will be graduating after this semester with a major in Business Management and a minor in French, dearly would love to go out on top on the field. And being a member of the Griffins for all but two seasons of their Canada West existence, she's uniquely qualified to talk about their growth into a juggernaut that's now regularly featured in the national rankings.
"I feel like the program has changed and grown so much," she said. "I feel we're able to influence and inspire so many young girls now, more than we have before. We're getting way more recognition and love from teams all over Edmonton and Alberta. It's so good to see."
For features on MacEwan's other graduating seniors, read them at the following links: