Posted on: October 4, 2018
The Thompson Rivers University WolfPack men’s soccer team enter the final stretch of their Canada West regular season with the knowledge that they don’t have to ride the bus again.
The WolfPack open up a five-match home stand this weekend (Oct 6-7) with back-to-back matches at Hillside Stadium. Their opponent both matches will be their northern rival: the University of Northern British Columbia Timberwolves. Both at 1 pm kick offs.
The WolfPack are coming off back-to-back defeats on the road last weekend at Trinity Western and the University of the Fraser Valley.
The Timberwolves are coming off a loss and a tie with the UBC Thunderbirds in Vancouver. Their last match (Sept 30) was a 7-0 setback.
After these matches, Thompson Rivers will host Trinity Western in the make-up of a postponed match from earlier this season due to poor air quality. That will go Wednesday, October 17th at 3 pm. The team will then close out the regular season with home dates October 20 th against the University of Victoria Vikes and October 21st against the UBC Thunderbirds. Both those matches have 1 pm starts. That last match against UBC will see the WolfPack honoring their graduating players: Mitch Popadynetz (Nelson BC), Finlay McPhie (Vernon, BC), Jason Staiger (Agassiz, BC) and Thomas Lantmeeters (Genk, Belgium).
Date: Sat Oct 6/ Sun Oct 7 Time: 1 pm PDT both days
Location: Hillside Stadium
TRU Record: 2-6-2 (7th in Pacific) 1-4 in last five 2-2 at home
UNBC Record: 4-2-3 (4th in Pacific) 3-1-1 in last five 1-1-1 on road
Thoughts from WolfPack head coach John Antulov:
1.What will take more time this week in preparation—mental or physical? It will be more mental for sure. We have gone through a tough stretch and it is important as a coaching staff that we get our group in a positive frame of mind going into these games. We have a good team – although not showing in the results – but the talent level is there to get something out of these last 5 games.
1. How fragile would you say the team’s psyche is? Is UNBC what the ‘doctor ordered’? It is a little fragile. After the late goal we gave up against TWU and then the second goal vs UFV the guys lost focus and their heads were down. But it is something they have to fight through, this is sport, it will happen and it is happening to us right now. UNBC is on a good run and playing well. They are very well coached and work as a group. They are getting results. They will be very difficult matches for us, we are the underdogs going into these games as they sit in a playoff spot and are well ahead of us in the standings.
2. How do you match up with the Timberwolves? As I say, every game in our division is a tough match and you have to be at your best to get results. This will be no different. They are on a roll and playing well. These games will be extremely hard and we will need to battle for 90 minutes both days.
3. What are the benefits of these rare same opponent back-to-back situations? I’m not sure if there are benefits. I think it depends on if you get a result the first game or not. Even if you do, the other team will come out stronger the following day so it will be a battle.
4. Could you talk about the benefits of having your last five regular season matches at home?
Having the home crowd will be a massive benefit for us as our players feed off family and friends being at our games. Hopefully we continue to get the local support to come and cheer our guys on.
5. When you look at your roster—which players have improved the most since Day 1? I believe Jan Pirretas (2nd year, Barcelona, Spain), James Fraser( 3rd year, Penticton, BC) and Thomas Lantmeeters (4th year, Genk, Belgium) have had solid seasons overall and continue to work and improve every day. They are all excellent players and continue to have a great attitude, work hard and battle to try and get us results.
Players to Watch:
Jackson Gardner (1st year, keeper, Chilliwack, BC): second in Canada West in goals against (5) and fourth in goals against average in the league (1.25).
Alex Ram (2nd year, keeper, Leicester, England: is fifth in the Canada West in goals against (9)
Mitch Popadynetz (5th year, midfielder, Nelson, BC): The Canada West player of the year is tied for third in assists in Canada West with four despite missing the last four matches.
Rob Goodey (3rd year, keeper,Langley, BC): is fifth in Canada West in saves (45). He is a past winner of the Canada West first star of the week award.
Francesco Bartolillo (5th year forward, Calgary, AB): became UNBC’s all-time leading scorer this year. He is fifth in Canada West in total points with eight.
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