Playoff spot eludes WolfPack men’s soccer team

The Thunderbirds' Manraj Bains (23) and Ryan Glanville get tangled up during CIS Canada West men's soccer action at UBC in Vancouver on October, 22, 2016. (Rich Lam/UBC Athletics Photo)

The Thunderbirds’ Manraj Bains (23) and Ryan Glanville get tangled up during CIS Canada West men’s soccer action at UBC in Vancouver on October, 22, 2016. (Rich Lam/UBC Athletics Photo)

It would have been the first time if the WolfPack men’s soccer team had managed to make the CIS playoffs, but the final spot in the Pacific division eluded them by just one point.

At any rate, it was the team’s best showing in the team’s three-season history with CIS. All told, the WolfPack placed fifth in their division and the team brought forward its winningest season thus far, with a 0.406 win percentage, besting the 14-15 season (0.250) and 15-16 season (0.375).

Two losses, only one of them their own, kept them from clenching fourth place in their division and a playoff spot.

The team was away to finish off their season, playing the fifth place UVic Vikes on Friday and the first place UBC Thunderbirds on Saturday.

On Friday, the ‘Pack blew a one-goal lead and suffered a 3-1 loss to the Vikes. It put the team in a tough spot: they had to win or tie their game against UBC and UBCO had to lose or tie their game against the Vikes on the same day.

Against UBC, the ‘Pack got hit hard in the first half, going down by two goals. They mustered just one in return, a cross from the right sideline by Ryan Glanville.

“Today we did play consistent, but our biggest obstacle moving forward is to be able to get over the mental hurdle that we can compete on a consistent basis. We have an excellent core which we can build upon for next year. We need to add just a few more pieces. We had our destiny on our own hands and failed to act on it. We allowed UBCO to take it away from us,” said head coach John Antulov following the game.

Over the past season, TRU’s offense has been dominated by two players in particular. Ryan Glanville finished the season tied for 7th league-wide in goals scored, putting 10 away in 15 games played. Justin Donaldson is the other, who scored 8 goals in 14 games. Also of note was Mitchell Popadynetz, who put up 41 shots and 5 assists in 16 games.

TRU’s keeper, Claye Harsany, who played all 16 games and shut out 5 of them, made 40 saves on the season and ended with a 0.645 save percentage.