Posted on: September 8, 2018
The Thompson Rivers University WolfPack men’s soccer team are heading home with a draw and a loss from their most recent Canada West roadswing. Following a loss Friday night (Sept 7) at UBC, the Pack got an extra time goal from second year defender Joshua Banton (2nd year, defender, Leigh-on-sea, ENGLAND) in a 3-3 draw at Centennial Stadium at the University of Victoria on Saturday (Sept 8).
The Pack were down 2-0 in the first half before rallying back to make it 2-1 at the half.
TRU moves to 1-2-2 on the season as does Victoria.
Other WolfPack goals came from James Fraser (3rd year, forward, Penticton, BC) and Thomas Lantmeeters (4th year, midfield, Gant, Belgium).
For the WolfPack veteran midfielder Mitchell Popadynetz (5th year, midfield, Nelson, BC) earned two assists on the goals by Fraser and Lantmeeters. Banton was the final scorer of the game, as Thompson Rivers rallied back from a 2-1 Vikes lead that stood for nearly 65 minutes of the game.
“Michy is kind of the guy that our offence runs through,” described John Antulov, head coach of the WolfPack. “We need other players, not just Mitch, to really pick up that goal scoring. We need to find that attacking prowess in that offensive third. We haven’t been able to do that as much and we were a little disjointed today and hopefully we can fix up some of that moving forward.”
It was the tale of two halves as the Vikes dominated in possession for the first half starting with an opening goal in the eighth minute. Will Adams cut through midfield and sent a slicing through the WolfPack defence to find a racing Ian Whibley. Whibley quickly cut the ball inside on his defender and drilled the ball low and hard past Thompson Rivers keeper Alex Ram (2nd year, Leicester, ENGLAND) for a 1-0 Vikes lead.
In the 20th minute, Matteo Ventura brought down a clear from the WolfPack and laid it off into space on the right side of the field. Teammate Jack Hill looked to take a touch but instead quickly moved his feet around to get off a rifling shot high and past Ram from 30 yards out.
The WolfPack got on the board in the 31st on a well-worked passing play as a curling ball down the left side to Popadynetz allowed the reigning Canada West Player of the Year to draw out Victoria keeper Jas Lally and find an open James Fraser to cut the Vikes’ lead to one.
Moments after scoring, Thompson Rivers defender Banton unleashed a canon from 35 yards out but it rang off the post to keep the WolfPack from drawing equal. In the final minute of the opening half Ventura delivered a free kick in to the box that found the head of first-year Vike Logan Fisher. Fisher’s header beat Ram but the play was called offside and it remained 2-1 for the Vikes at half time.
Following the break there was a momentum swing in favour of the visitors. The WolfPack had a few open looks at goal but Jan Pirretas and Popadynetz each blasted a shot wide. Thompson Rivers nearly equalized on an open run down the left side from Jason Staiger (5th year, forward, Agassiz, BC). The fifth-year striker blazed down the left side but his low shot was steered wide by the fully sprawled finger tips of Lally.
It was a sign of what was to come as the WolfPack found the back of the net in the 65th minute on a cross from Popadynetz that found the head of Lantmeeters. The six-foot-two midfielder was left unmarked at the top of the six-yard-box and was able to bring the game even at 2-2.
Whibley’s heroics brought the Vikes ahead again after a timely and much-needed counter attack. Xavier Araujo beat two WolfPack defenders on the left side of the field and his run lead to a loose ball being picked up by Adams. The first year calmly cut the ball back to his right foot to slide it wide to Whibley who buried a low show for his second goal of the game and, ultimately, a 3-2 Vikes lead.
Thompson Rivers were able to squeeze out a point from the Vikes thanks to a goal in stoppage time. A left-side cross from Emmanuel Aniogbe (2nd year, Mission, BC) was volleyed in to the Vikes cage by Banton to leave the game as a draw at 3-3.
“It was disappointing because the players worked so, so hard for the 90 minutes and we gave away a silly one away at the end,” added Victoria head coach Bruce Wilson. “Full credit to Thompson Rivers, though, as they were pressuring us and they pushed on and pushed on and ended up getting the equalizer.”
Popadynetz now has four assists on the year which is good enough for second spot in the Canada West individual standings. Ram is fifth in the league in goals against (1.20).
(With assistance from the UVIC Sports Information Office)
1. 7:17 – Vic– Ian Whibley from Will Adams Strong arms the defender and slots it in. (Whibley’s second goal of the year) UVIC 1 TRU 0
2. 21:11 – Vic– Jack Hill from Matteo Ventura Curling shot into the top right corner (Hill’s first goal of the year) UVIC 2 TRU 0
3. 31:08 – TRU– James Fraser from Mitchell Popadynetz Cross into the box and tapped into the box (Fraser’s first goal of the year) UVIC 2 TRU 1
4. 64:26 – TRU– Thomas Lantmeeters from Mitchell Popadynetz *Header off a cross (Lantmeeters second goal of the year) TRU 2 UVIC 2
5. 73:14 – Vic– Ian Whibley from Will Adams Beautiful play leading to a calm finish (Whibley’s second goal of match and third of the year) UVIC 3 TRU 2
6. 90:00 – TRU– Josh Banton from Emmanuel Aniogbe *Calm finish from 15 yards out. (Banton’s first goal of the year) TRU 3 UVIC 3
Shots: UVIC: 5-3:8 TRU: 10-11:21 Corners: TRU 3-7;10 UVIC: 0-1:1
Saves: TRU 3-0:3 UVIC: 2-3 :5
Keepers: TRU: Alex Ram UVIC: Jas Lally (2nd year, Surrey, BC)
TRU and UVIC: 1-2-2 ( tied for 4th in Pacific)
THEY SAID IT! (post match quotes):
TRU head coach John Antulov:
“We came out very sluggish in the first half and not mentally ready and prepared. UVIC came out strong and put us under a lot of pressure and scored two quick goals. We were able to come back at the 30 minute mark and played better to make it 2-1. Maybe we found our rhythm and our feet. We carried that onto the second half and carried more possession and got more opportunities on goal. We were able to tie it up at two. We made an error on their third goal as we did not have good cover. Fortunately we were able to come back and tie it up. I am happy we were able to come away with a point on the road in a very difficult place to play . Kudos to Victoria for the battle they put in. We need to find a little more consistency in the effort and mindset going forward.”
The WolfPack’s will conclude their four match road trip next Saturday (Sept 15) when they pay a visit to Calgary to meet the University of Calgary Dinos. That match has a 2 pm MDT kick off.
Thompson Rivers’ next home match will be Friday, September 21st when they play host to the University of Alberta Golden Bears. It will be the first time the two schools have met since TRU downed Alberta to win the Canada West bronze medal in late October.
All of the WolfPack matches—home and away—will be webcast on a pay per view basis on www.Canadawest.TV.