WolfPack men’s soccer continues road swing

  Posted on: September 5, 2018

Mitchell Popadynetz in air vs UBCO (Andrew Snucins photo)

The road swing continues this week for the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack men’s soccer team. The WolfPack will play a pair of Canada West matches on the coast. On Friday (Sept 7), they will visit the UBC Thunderbirds in Vancouver. The following night (Sept 8) the opponents will be the University of Victoria Vikes.

These are matches two and three of a four game, three-week road trip for the ‘Pack. They opened it up with a scoreless tie on Sunday (Sept 2) against the UBCO Heat in Kelowna, BC.

TRU is coming off a win and a tie against UBCO.

 

Game Information:

Date: Fri Sept 7/ Sat Sept 8     Time: 6:30 pm/7:15 pm

Location: Thunderbird Stadium, Vancouver, BC/ Centennial Stadium, Victoria, BC

TRU Record: 1-1-1 (5th in Pacific)             Last year (6-3-6) 3rd in Pacific Division

UBC Record: 1-0-1 (1st in Pacific)             Last year (10-4-1) 1st in Pacific Division

UVIC Record: 0-2-1 (7th in Pacific)           Last year (6-8-1) 5th in Pacific Division

 

Important Game Notes:

The WolfPack have scored four goals going into the weekend. That is third among the teams in the Canada West Pacific Division. They are tied with UBC (Trinity Western has scored the most times so far with eight). Victoria has surrendered the most goals of any Pacific Division team (12 through three matches).

This is the first meeting between UBC and TRU since the teams met in the bronze medal match of the U SPORTS Nationals last November at Hillside Stadium. Thompson Rivers won in penalty kicks to claim their first ever victory and first ever U SPORTS medal.

 

Thoughts from WolfPack head coach John Antulov:

  1. What stood out in your mind about the win and tie against UBCO?

 

Defensively I thought we were solid and did not give up a lot of really good scoring opportunities in front of our goal.

 

  1. What do you need to work on for this week?

 

Attacking and finishing in the final third.  We were a little inconsistent in linking up together and getting solid opportunities vs UBCO on Sunday.  It is something that we need to continue to work on.  Also, playing against UBC and UVIC we will need to keep our defensive shape and limit goal scoring opportunities.

 

  1. Could you elaborate on how the rivalry with UBC has developed over the last year?

 

UBC is one of the top teams in the country.  They have been for many years.  They will have a very strong squad this year preparing for nationals.  We are a young program still finding our way and have many years to go and find consistency.  We had a great year last year, but we still have a long way to go before we can say we have a rivalry with them and other top teams in Canada West.

 

  1. How much will the victory over them at U SPORTS Nationals factor into the preparation for Friday?

 

It doesn’t factor in at all.  That was last year.  This year, each team has new players and it is very early in the season and each team is still working at gelling and finding their main core or group.  We will have to be on the absolute top of our game if we want to get something positive out of this game.

 

  1. What have you heard about them?

 

Watching their games, they are very strong.  Mike (UBC head coach Mosher)has had an outstanding recruiting year and has many top players throughout his lineup.  It will be a tough match up.

 

  1. Whats the story on UVIC?

 

UVIC is very young, but Bruce Wilson has done an outstanding job with his group.  UVIC is always a very tough place for us to play and as with UBC, we will need to ensure we are prepared and minimize our mistakes if we are to get something positive out of this game and this trip.

 

  1. Which of your players has impressed with his performance and effort so far this year

 

I have been happy with our whole group.  Everyone is working very hard and we are trying to round into form after a tough preseason.  I hope we can continue on this trend for the coming weeks.

 

Players to Watch:

TRU:

Alex Ram (2nd year, keeper, Leicester, England) leads the Canada West with a goals against average of (0.33). He is also tied for first in the league with 1 goal against and is tied for fourth in saves percentage (.857).

Mitch Popadynetz (5th year, midfielder, Nelson, BC): The Canada West player of the year is tied for third in Canada west in assists with two.

Justin Donaldson (4th year, midfielder, Kamloops, BC): stands second in the Canada West in total shots with 12.

UBC:

Jason Roberts (4th keeper, Richmond, BC): He is tied with Alex Ram for fourth in saves per centage (.857) and goals against (1) and is second behind Ram in goals against average(0.50)

Caleb Clark (5th year, forward, Richmond, BC): The former Vancouver Whitecap had a goal and four shots in a 1 all tie on the road vs UFV and then a goal and two assists in the T-Birds home opener, a 3-0 win over Trinity Western.

UVIC:

Jas Killy (4th year, keeper, Surrey, BC): has started two of the Vikes games giving up eight goals.

Harjob Nijjar (1st year,keeper, Surrey, BC) :started the other match for Victoria and gave up four goals.