It was an exciting week for the TRU Wolfpack as competitive play returned to Hillside Stadium after a seven-month hiatus. Both the men and women’s team faced off against local rival University of British Columbia Okanagan (UBCO) on Wednesday, with the men winning the derby 1-0 and the women 3-2.
They played the following night against the 2003’s Thompson Okanagan Football Club (TOFC) in a more relaxed game that had the men’s team winning 4-0 and the women’s team winning 3-0.
It wasn’t totally back to normal as players were forced to sanitize hands upon arrival and wear masks when off the field. The stands were blocked off so fans were unable to spectate but that didn’t stop a cheerful group of supporters who circled the track while watching the game.
Besides the fans, the players were also happy.
“It feels really great to get back on the pitch with the boys. This is a huge part of our lives and we’ve missed it so much,” Josh Banton stated. “I’m buzzing that we got the two wins and we’re able to apply what we’ve been working on in training the past few months.”
Banton scored the winner during the 1-0 victory against UBCO with a tidy finish one on one with the keeper.
“My role on the team isn’t usually to score goals so it felt unreal to contribute with a goal during the first game back,” Banton admitted. “I don’t care if it’s an exhibition or U-Sports national game, I want to win everything and I want to do it our way. To help our team do it against our rivals was phenomenal.”
The women’s team was also in high spirits after a pair of wins highlighted with a 3-2 victory over UBCO. Goals were scored by Robin Price and Camryn Curtis with an own goal by UBCO propelling TRU to the victory.
“We have played some inter-squad games, but those weren’t nearly as exciting as the real thing. We haven’t played a team in our league since October of 2019 when we played Trinity Western, so we were very eager to get back out there and show them what we’ve got,” stated goal scorer Camryn Curtis. “The games this week were two great games to ease us into competitive play again. UBCO and our team have always had close results in past games, so we knew going into the game that it would be pretty even.”
TRU women’s soccer won and tied their two-game series against UBCO last season and their undefeated streak continues on in 2020.
“It felt great to score one of the three goals against UBCO to help our team to victory. It was great awareness by Chantal Gammie with a backheel pass to find me open. All that was left for me to do was slot it in the back of the net. It was a great team effort,” Curtis said. “I’m looking forward to scoring more goals and helping the girls to more victories this year.”
The men and women’s team will be back in action this week as they take on the same teams. The teams will play Wednesday night against TOFC at Hillside Stadium and then will play UBCO in an away fixture.
The Wolfpack are currently playing their exhibition games in cohorts of four teams implying that the teams are agreeing to not play other teams outside of their cohort for a given period. After this weekend, the Wolfpack will then wait another two weeks before joining another cohort to play different teams.