s first match against the University of Victoria Vikes, the Wolfpack men’s soccer team was unable to safely see out the final seconds of the match in a 1-1 tie with the UVic Vikes on Sept. 25.
It was the Wolfpack’s turn for disappointment as they were unable to protect the net against the Vikes’ last-minute attempts on net, as the Vikes saw a 90th-minute goal.
“It was a game that we had under control, we really could have put the game away with the two crossbars and then missing a couple of other chances,” WolfPack head coach John Antulov, said, “Sometimes that happens in soccer, where they get that opportunity at the end. It’s disappointing but at the same time we are really happy with how the guys played all weekend, overall we played some really good soccer going up against the team that was in first place.”
Jonathan Rinaldi scored the first Canada West goal of his WolfPack career with James Fraser picking up an assist 15 minutes into the game. A well-worked run from Dylan Hooper ended with a cross that Fraser was able to chest into the path of Rinaldi. From there the Kamloops local calmly took a touch before firing it into the net from the edge of the 18-yard box.
The WolfPack took an even tighter grip on the game just ten minutes before halftime when a Vikes player received a red card, forcing UVic to play the remainder of the game down a man.
TRU dominated the second half, enjoying their man advantage and creating chance after chance. Both Fraser and Patrick Izett hit the crossbar, but crucially the WolfPack were unable to find the all-important insurance goal.
That came back to bite the visiting team in the dying seconds of the match when the Vikes converted on their first real chance of the second half.
Despite the disappointment of allowing the late goal, there are plenty of positives for a WolfPack squad that continues their best start to a Canada West season in program history. Four points from the weekend give the Vikes a record of 2-0-4 and their mark of 10 points currently has them tied atop the West division standings.
It will be a showdown between the two teams tied on 10 points when the WolfPack returns to Kamloops to host the Trinity Western Spartans next weekend. The games will also mark the return to fans inside Hillside Stadium for the first time since the 2019 season.
“It’s always a battle with them and to have them at home with fans being able to be inside the stadium will be huge, that’s really going to pump up the guys,” Antulov said in a press release on the upcoming games with TWU. “It’s great for us to be three weeks in undefeated – we’ve never done that before – so I think it will be great for the fans to see what kind of team we have.”