Difficult season ends with a bang for men’s soccer

Graduating player Kyle Fertile battles with Greg Meconse of UNBC during TRU’s 5-2 victory Saturday Oct. 24. (Tristan Davies/The Omega)

Graduating player Kyle Fertile battles with Greg Meconse of UNBC during TRU’s 5-2 victory Saturday Oct. 24. (Tristan Davies/The Omega)

The 2015 WolfPack men’s soccer season certainly had its fair share of ups and downs, but it ended on a high note, as the WolfPack won the first game of the weekend 5 to 2 and tied 1 to 1 to get four out of a possible six points in games against the UNBC Timberwolves this past weekend.

It was a tale of two different teams for the ‘Pack this year, as the team that started the season with one win, five losses and two ties bears almost no resemblance to the team that has won three out of their last four games to finish the season.

Throughout those early games there were signs that this TRU team was not only better than they were last year but also good enough to compete against any team in the extremely competitive Pacific division of the CIS. Unfortunately they just seemed unable to put it all together for a full 90-minute game, and a stretch of three losses and one tie in games against the University of the Fraser Valley, Trinity Western University and the UBC Okanagan can be looked at as the point of the season that ultimately doomed their playoff chances.

“That four-game span, those were critical games for us, we were extremely unlucky against UBCO in both games. I thought we dominated the games, from the shot total to clear chances, those would have been the turning point in our season for sure. If we could have got some quality results from those four games we would be in a playoff chase right now,” said head coach John Antulov.

It was immediately after that four-game stretch that everything really seemed to come together for the WolfPack. A revitalized ‘Pack team entered into the 75th minute of play tied one to one with the eight time national champion University of British Columbia Thunderbirds, and although they would go on to lose that game you could feel the sense of belief in themselves growing around this team.

That sense of self-belief would pay off the very next day as TRU faced off against a University of Victoria Vikings squad that had already dismantled TRU earlier in the year by a score of five to one. With the offence looking as dangerous as any to be seen in the CIS and the defence proving to be formidable, TRU would record what is undoubtedly the biggest win of their short time in CIS defeating the number two team in the Pacific Division 4 to 2.

Although the WolfPack entered this weekend already eliminated from playoff contention, Antulov stressed how important positive results against UNBC can be for TRU.

“For the program going forward, to do better than we did last year from a results standpoint helps in recruiting, so these games mean a lot to me, to show that we’ve taken that step forward. I’d also like to see results for the guys because they have worked very hard this year, there’s not one guy that’s taken a game off.”

This weekend also marked a changing of the guard for the WolfPack, as fifth year players Travis Froehlich, Oriol Torres, Corey Wallis, Braden Burrows and Kyle Fertile all played their last games in a TRU uniform. These five players represent the core of the TRU teams that dominated the Pacwest division of BCAA soccer before making the jump to the CIS last season.