The Thompson Rivers University WolfPack men’s soccer team knew they would be in a battle from the opening whistle Friday night.
After all, the first-year CIS team (0-3-1) was pitted against the defending league and national champion UBC Thunderbirds at Hillside Stadium.
“I thought for the first 70 minutes that we did hold our own,” said WolfPack head coach John Antulov, who watched his team get blanked 3-0 by UBC. “After that initial 15 minutes, we started to settle down. But after they scored their second goal, our young legs got a little bit rattled.”
Freshman defender and Vernon product, Finlay McPhie, was named TRU Bookstore/McDonalds Leader of the Pack player of the match.
“He (Finlay) was strong. I thought Logan Zimmerman had some good speed. Mike Bennett (another first-year defender from Vernon) played well. I thought our young guys played pretty well. That is the whole point of this is to get those guys playing time too,” said Antulov.
Milad Mehrabi, Navid Mashinci and Sean Einersson had UBC goals.
The first-year struggles continued for the WolfPack as they fell 4-0 to the University of Victoria Vikes Saturday at Hillside Stadium.
The best chance for TRU in the first half came in the 40th minute when Zimmerman broke down the right side and dished it straight into the middle of the 18-yard box for Corey Wallis (fourth year forward from Enderby). Wallis, normally a defender, launched a missile just over the Vike net.
Wallis had literally jumped off a plane and onto the field after missing most of the last week after a death in his family.
“He was fantastic,” said Antulov. “Corey is one of our captains and our leaders. That is what we expect of him. He always wants to win. I knew he was chomping at the bit to play. Even when we threw him up front, he did some really good things for us.”
Wallis was named player of the match.