Adam Williams, Sports Editor Ω
It was a tale of two teams on the soccer pitch this weekend for the TRU WolfPack – a women’s team that dominated and a men’s team that struggled.
The women trounced the Douglas College Royals 4-0 on Saturday and followed up with a 4-1 victory Sunday versus the Kwantlen Polytechnic University Screaming Eagles.
The men came back from a one-goal deficit in an exciting game Saturday to secure a 2-2 draw versus Douglas College. Sunday was not as kind as the men lost 2-1 to Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
Both teams had strong moments throughout the weekend, but it was the women who clearly stated they would not be bested on their home turf.
“I think our fitness was huge and our passing was very good,” said head coach Tom McManus after Saturday’s game versus Douglas College. “The girls were looking for each other well and our recruits, Courtney Daly and Kelsey Martin, were just phenomenal. They came out and did a super job for me, so I’m really happy with that.”
The rookies of the WolfPack women’s soccer team were certainly the story of the team’s first home stand of the PACWEST season. Courtney Daly had a strong game against Douglas College using speed and strength to notch her first regular season goal. Kelsey Martin scored twice Sunday against Kwantlen and secured player-of-the-game honours following the victory. This weekend’s performances are a testament to the skill of the new additions and the strength of the WolfPack’s recruiting efforts.
“It felt really good,” said Daly, when asked how it felt to score her first PACWEST goal so early in the season. “I was really nervous going into the game, but once I got [the goal] I just shook off all the nerves and kept playing.”
The weekend started off on a positive note for the men as well. The WolfPack played a strong game Saturday against Douglas College, scoring early and securing the draw on a penalty kick from forward Oriol Torres. Torres was a menace on the field for the WolfPack, playing a big part in the team’s offensive efforts with penalty-kick goals in back-to-back games. He was named player of the game in Sunday’s losing effort.
“I need to start playing at my level,” said Torres, after scoring Saturday. “I always score, well I used to score and in the last three or four games I didn’t. So hopefully from now on I can keep my standards [of play] up.”
The men were unable to maintain their same level of play Sunday versus the Screaming Eagles. The game was played evenly to the half, but the WolfPack surrendered the lead after halftime. Kwantlen scored to bring the score to 2-0, before Oriol Torres netted his second goal of the season on a penalty kick. The WolfPack’s efforts to tie the game came too little, too late; it was a disappointing effort after a strong showing on Saturday.
“Well it was the tale of two teams. Yesterday we came out and battled with probably one of the best teams in our league and today we came out and were sub-par,” said co-head coach Sean Wallace after Sunday’s game. “I think we’re going to have to look at our fitness, we’re going to have to look at battling a little harder. I think we took this team for granted and it showed. They battled all over the field and we didn’t match their intensity.”
Wallace described his team as “overconfident” Sunday and mentioned that he believes his team is still “trying to find its identity.” While the season is relatively young, the men will need to figure things out soon if they hope to keep their season on track.
Both teams head to Squamish and Vancouver next weekend, facing off against Quest University and Langara College.
The women will have to make some adjustments of their own this week, though it certainly won’t be anything drastic. With eight goals-for and one against this weekend, the team was strong in its debut, but there are always tweaks to be made.
“We played sporadically to be honest,” assessed coach McManus. “The wind was a major factor for both teams. We controlled the first half against the wind and played very well. In the second I think we relaxed too much to be honest and got a bit sloppy at times. But the girls did a good job and scored another four goals, so I gotta be happy.”
The WolfPack return to Hillside Stadium Sept. 29 and 30 when they face off against Kelowna’s University of B.C. Okanagan. Kickoff for both games is 1 p.m.