Posted on: September 5, 2018
After practicing for nearly a month, the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack women’s soccer team will open its Canada West regular season.
The ‘Pack are at home for a pair of games at Hillside Staduim this weekend (Sept 8-9). They will entertain the MacEwan University Griffins on Saturday and the University of Northern British Columbia Timberwolves on Sunday.
This will be Kelly Shantz’s third year at the helm of the WolfPack program. The WolfPack went unbeaten in the exhibition season against U.S. junior college competition.
Date: Saturday Sept 8/Sunday Sept 9 Time: Both 1 pm
Location: Hillside Stadium, Kamloops, BC
TRU Record: (last year) 3-9-3 (7th in Pacific)
MacEwan Record: (last year) 8-5-1 (4th in Pacific)
UNBC Record (last year) 3-7-4 (6th in Pacific)
Important Game Notes:
Both of the WolfPack opponents made the post season in 2018. TRU missed it by one victory. TRU keeper Danielle Robertson (2nd year, Courtenay, BC) faced the most shots in Canada West last season (99).
The WolfPack are ranked 16th in the Canada West coaches preseason poll. MacEwan is seventh with UNBC rated 13th. The Trinity Western Spartans, UBC Thunderbirds and Victoria Vikes are the top three teams in the poll.
Last year, The WolfPack lost 2-0 to MacEwan at home (that match was played at McArthur Island) and lost 7-2 in Edmonton. Thompson Rivers fell 3-0 to UNBC in Prince George and then tied them at 2 at Hillside Stadium in October. Marisa Mendonca and Keenan Degen had the goals for TRU. Tianna Puis (who has now graduated) had both markers for the Timberwolves.
Thoughts from the WolfPack:
Marisa Mendonca (4th year, midfield, Penticton, BC-Team co-captain): “I am really excited. The group has a lot of potential so I am excited to see what the new season brings. I think the strength on the team is through the midfield. Having a bunch of new forwards up front will help us generate some more offense. Personally, I hope to improve upon my five-goal performance from last year (most on the team).
Cassie Morris (3rd year defender, Kamloops, BC): “We have a strong group of recruits coming in and definitely a good core of veterans. I think that the chemistry I have built up with Natalie (Verdeil) continues to improve. We have played together almost every match since I got here. Obviously making the playoffs is a big goal for us. It is definitely nice to start the season at home and I hope we have a big crowd to cheer us on.”
Natalie Verdiel (4th year defender, Powell River, BC Team co-captain): “Having more returning players than rookies on the team is definitely a step forward in our development. We have a good base and with the rookies being strong, we should be able to concentrate more on our offense. We can work the ball forward. I want to make playoffs and see us do the best we can as a team.”
Kelsey Thorkelsson (3rd year, defender, Winnipeg, MB): “We have matured as a unit. I think the difference this year is that we have the ability to score. We can move up the field and transition with good ball movement in the middle. Our strikers can really put the ball in the net, which I am really looking forward to seeing that. I think if we have any weaknesses, it could be our youth. Starting at home against UNBC and MacEwan is a plus for us because they are two teams we believe we have a chance of beating.”
Players to Watch:
Marisa Mendonca: led the team in goals with five last season. She was named a co-captain in the off season.
Cassie Morris has started every match in her first two years as a WolfPack defender. Coach Shantz is expecting a breakout year from her.
Suekiana Choucair (4th year, midfielder, Edmonton, AB) was fourth in the Canada West last year in shots with 49.
Emily Burns (4th year, keeper, Sherwood Park, AB) started 14 of the 15 matches MacEwan played in last season notching 8 wins, 5 losses and a draw.
Brooke Molby (2nd year, keeper, Squamish, BC) started in 11 matches last year accumulating a record of 2 wins, 6 losses and two draws.
If you can’t make the game/match: watch online (pay per view) at www.canadawesttv.ca
Home game/match highlights will be available by logging onto www.gowolfpack.tru.ca