WolfPack will play for soccer bronze following UBC loss

TRU’s Finlay McPhie contributed one of the team’s 14 shots against UBC Friday night. (Wong photo)

The WolfPack men’s soccer team lost 3-1 to the UBC thunderbirds in Vancouver last night, killing its chance at a Canada West title. It was the WolfPack’s first-ever final four appearance in the Canada West playoffs.

The ’Pack surrendered three goals in 18 minutes in the first half.

The game had been delayed due to the fact that the other final four game, between the University of Alberta Golden Bears and the Trinity Western University Spartans, had gone to extra time with Trinity Western getting the upset over Alberta.

That upset would have given TRU hope that they, too, could pull off an upset, but it wasn’t to be, as UBC scored two minutes in.

It was UBC’s Manraj Bains who opened up the scoring after a loose ball from a corner went unattended by the TRU defence.

Things would go from bad to worse for the ’Pack as UBC’s Victory Shumbusho took advantage of a lapse in concentration and made it 2-0 at the 10-minute mark.

UBC would continue their great start with a goal by Mackenzie Cole 18 minutes in.

From there on the contest became a little scrappy as UBC was more content to let TRU have the ball and just defend.

TRU refused to give up and kept trying to put pressure on UBC with some decent chances.

Eventually that persistence paid off 86 minutes in, as James Fraser scored with an assist from Koffi Nyavor. It was deserved, as a battered TRU team kept their heads up throughout the entire game.

“Disappointed with the results. The first 15 minutes isn’t the way we wanted to come out. We gave up two early goals on two pretty bad mistakes that ended up costing us,” head Coach John Antulov told TRU athletics.

Despite the disappointment, Antulov was still happy about the fight his team showed and the fact they never gave up.

“It was a learning experience for us. We are fortunate we have a life line and have a berth in the nationals. We need to be more mentally stronger and tougher and be more focused in the first 15 minutes,” said Antulov.

Things won’t get any easier, as TRU faces Alberta tonight in the bronze match. Alberta are the defending champions, and the match will prove to be one of the biggest challenges the WolfPack have faced this year.