The Thompson Rivers University WolfPack opened the Canada West men’s soccer league by falling to the Fraser Valley Cascades and Trinity Western Spartans by identical 1-0 scores.
The lone goal of the match Friday versus the Cascades in Abbotsford came in the 35th minute when Daniel Davidson’s shot from outside the box found the bottom corner of the net. The marker was scored after TRU keeper Claye Harsany (2nd year, High River, Alta.) made the stop but the ball bounced out to the top of the box.
The WolfPack had a number of chances but were unable to beat Fraser Valley keeper David Hicks.
“We knew it was going to be a battle with them,” said TRU coach John Antulov. “It came down to them converting on their chance and us missing on ours.”
Antulov made a number of changes to start the second half by inserting the likes of Mike Bennett (3rd year, defender, Vernon), Olamide Adjibike (2nd year, midfield, Maple Ridge), Keenan Wallace (1st year, midfield, Kamloops) and Vicki Parhar (3rd year, defender, Surrey).
“We played smart shape in that half,” said Antulov. “We took away the balls up top and started to pressure them a little bit. Even the balls that got through, we did a little better job. They came in and did a great job of solidifying things. When they can do that and hold things together-that is good sign.”
In Langley, after a shaky opening 10 minutes, the WolfPack started to gain strength before a large crowd of students (it was orientation weekend) and fans at Chase Office Field.
After a scoreless first half, the lone goal came at 72 minutes with Leighton Johnson (3rd year, forward Strathmore, AB) finding a loose ball at the top of the box and slotting it past TRU keeper Claye Harsany (2nd year, High River, Alta.).
Finlay McPhie of Vernon, a third-year veteran, also plays for TRU, who are 1-3.
“Same mistake as yesterday (a 1-0 loss to Fraser Valley on Friday Sept 2nd),” said WolfPack head coach John Antulov. “ Win the ball. Nobody is at the back looking for knock downs. Two nights in a row, you make a mistake and get punished for it.”