The TRU men’s soccer program has snuck into the playoffs after clinching the fourth and final playoff spot in the last game of the season. This was the third year in a row that TRU has made the post-season and they did it in spectacular fashion.
After a season full of ups and downs, the men’s team found themselves heading into last weekend with a tall task at hand: having to win their final two matches and to have one of their rival teams, University of Fraser Valley, lose both of their matches. A tough situation to be in where destiny is not entirely in their own hands.
TRU was facing rival University of Northern British Columbia and took care of business when it mattered. They won their first game 4-0, and their second game 2-0. It was their first six-point weekend of the entire season. As fate would have it, UFV lost both of their games.
“As a team, we worked hard this weekend,” Justin Donaldson, a fifth-year player, reports, “we knew playoffs were at stake, our backs were up against the wall and we performed as we needed to as a team.”
Donaldson scored three goals in his final weekend of regular season play.
“We all stepped up when we needed to. Coming into the weekend, we had a few setbacks and injuries, but players really stepped up. I am happy as a fifth-year and graduating player to keep going into playoffs and be a part of this team. Going forward, we know every game counts and we will go into the playoffs with our heads held high and give everything we got,” Donaldson said.
The men’s team is used to this kind of pressure after being in the exact same position last year around this time.
“There’s a little déja-vu happening. We were in the exact same spot last year and we came through again. I’m so proud of this team and how hard we worked,” Captain Jan Pirretas said. “We will celebrate this victory for now but will start to focus on our next task tomorrow. Like I said before, I want to change the colour of the medal this year. I am not satisfied with another bronze.”
The men’s team has won back-to-back bronze medals in the Canada West playoffs and are clearly earnest for a higher position on the podium. They will be facing up against prairie division leaders Mount Royal University in Calgary this upcoming weekend on October 26th.
This wouldn’t be the first time these two teams have matched up this season after TRU was defeated 2-1 by MRU in Calgary earlier this year. It surely will not be easy for the Wolfpack, but if history repeats itself, it will be the third year in a row that TRU knocks out the number one seat in the prairie division.
On the other hand, the women’s team were not so lucky as they faced an even tougher mathematical chance at making the playoffs. They had to hope for several results to go their way and also win out their remaining games. Their first game on the weekend was against number one ranked Trinity Western Spartans and, unfortunately, they fell short in a 4-0 defeat.
This officially put the girls out of post-season contention. They will continue their spring season and prepare for next year. This is the fourth year in a row that the women’s team failed to make the playoffs.