Women came close, but will miss soccer playoffs this year

Keenen Degen on the pitch during one of the team’s final games this season. (TRU Athletics)

Last weekend began with the prospect of TRU having two soccer teams in the playoffs. The men’s team had already qualified for the playoffs after beating the University of British Columbia Heat 1-0, and the women’s soccer team could have qualified had they beat the University of Northern British Columbia at Hillside Stadium on Oct. 21 and either tied or won their game against the MacEwan University Griffins on the following day. Unfortunately, it was not to be, as the women’s WolfPack team drew 2-2 against the UNBC Timberwolves.

The contest was a do-or-die game as both teams were in direct competition for the final playoff spot in the Pacific West division. TRU was in a must-win situation while UNBC needed only a tie.

The game began wide open with both teams having good opportunities to score early and it was the ‘Pack’s forward Marisa Mendonca (third year, Penticton) who managed to find the back of the net three minutes into the game. A long range shot, it was her fifth goal of the year.

The ‘Pack would keep the lead until the 41st minute when UNBC’s Tianna Pius equalized to make it one all going into half-time.

TRU regained the lead 19 minutes into the second half when Keenan Degen, (2nd year, midfield, Kamloops, BC) would score her first for the season. TRU maintained that lead until the 82nd minute when Tianna Pius struck again to score her second goal of the match, her third for the season and ending the game in a 2-2 draw.

The goal left the WolfPack in a tension-filled wait. Making the final play-off berth depended on a UNBC loss in their next game and TRU’s ability to defeat MacEwen the following day. The Griffins had already secured their own playoff spot.

“I’m really happy with our performance,” Shantz told the Omega. “[But] we had two leads and lost two leads. That’s unacceptable. We have to learn and that will come as our team gets more experienced. This young team needs to develop soccer IQ.”

The ‘Pack’s season came to an end after a 2-0 loss to the MacEwan University Griffins at McArthur Island on Sunday. WolfPack keeper Danielle Robertson faced 22 shots in the game. Cassie Morris unfortunately scored an own-goal after the ball deflected off of her and in the net six minutes into the game. Despite the season ending on a sad note, Shantz was still very positive when speaking with TRU Athletics.

“It was our best game of the year. We had some really good moments in the second half of the year but in terms of what we wanted to do and how we wanted to play, who we wanted to move around, getting into the attack and playing defense. As a unit this was our best day.”

“It would have been nice to win today and move onto the playoffs if we had a chance. The girls gave it all they had today. It has been unreal how this team has matured in 90 days,” said Christine Fergin (4th year, Waterloo, ON) to TRU athletics.

Fergin, the only graduate on the team, went on to say that she believed the WolfPack outplayed MacEwan for large portions of the game.

The ’Pack women’s soccer team ends their season with a record of 3-9-2 and they finish 7th in the Pacific West division.