Men’s 2013 campaign off to a strong start as team remains undefeated
The University of Saskatchewan Huskies men’s soccer team proved far too strong for the University of Northern British Columbia Timberwolves, coming away with a decisive 7-0 win. The Huskies are now 2-0 on the season after defeating the University of Winnipeg Wesmen 2-1 last week.
It didn’t take long for the Dogs’ offence to strike. Third year midfielder Luigi Bekwayo netted the first goal to put the squad ahead early. Bekwayo contributed an additional two goals in the first half, the first of which was off a penalty kick. Second year midfielder David Brown added the final goal of the opening half, putting the Huskies up 4-0 over the Timberwolves.
In the second half, the Huskies continued to put pressure on the Timberwolves. The effort paid dividends when Brown scored another goal at the 54-minute mark. Striker Brett Levis followed suit, banking another goal for the Huskies at 71 minutes. Fifth year midfielder Ryan Contenti rounded out the scoring effort, netting the seventh and final goal of the game off a penalty kick at 89 minutes.
The strong start to the season bodes well for the Huskies playoff chances. After finishing second in the Prairie Division last year, the squad is looking to go one step further and bring home their first-ever Canada West banner.
“We have a group of players that are extremely determined to get back into the playoffs and fight for a Canada West Championship,” said head coach Bryce Chapman during the team’s pre-season training camp.
The team will look to a core group of experienced returnees to lead the playoff charge.
After taking a year off, 2009 Canada West all-star midfielder Eoin McFadden is returning to the field and will be joined by fellow midfielders Mitch Bauche and 2013 captain Brandon Holmes.
Key returning defenders for the team will be second-years Carson MacDonald and Mathew Gillot.
Levis, who scored three goals in the Huskies first two matches, will look to bring his experience with the Vancouver Whitecaps to the field and continue to contribute to the Dog’s offence.
The hole left in the net by the departure of fifth-year goaltender Mark Diakiw will be filled by third-year Michal Bandula. Bandula has allowed only one goal in his first two starts of the season.
The Huskies also made key additions this year with striker Garrett Peters, defensemen Gabriel Michael and Kyle Moore and goalkeeper Greg Buckley joining the roster.
In the Canada West Men’s Soccer Coaches Poll, the Huskies were voted fifth out of the 11 teams. The 2012 Canadian Interuniversity Sport men’s soccer champions, University of British Columbia Thunderbirds, placed first in the poll. In the Prairie Division, only the University of Alberta ranked higher than the U of S, coming in second behind UBC.
With many squads still waiting to play their first game, it is difficult to know just how the teams will measure up against one another but, with strong performances in their first two games, the Huskies are sure to be formidable foes.
“I think everyone is really excited about the season,” Chapman said. “We were really proud of what we accomplished last season and we want to continue to be considered one of the top teams in our conference. This group now has playoff experience, is hardworking and motivated to get us there.”
The Huskies will hit the road again to take on the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns on Sept. 14 in Lethbridge.
Women blend veteran experience and rookie enthusiasm
The University of Saskatchewan women’s soccer team opened their season with a 3-1 win over the Manitoba Bison this past weekend.
Both teams had scoring opportunities early but it was Manitoba who capitalized in the fifth minute when defender Gillian Sidon knocked a pass from forward Daniella Scerbo past Huskie goalkeeper Cara Santaga into the net.
Manitoba maintained their lead over the Huskies for much of the first half until defender Erica Parenteau was able to put a ball past the Bison’s goalkeeper to tie the game at 1-1.
The Huskies found their momentum in the second half. In the 54th minute, striker Jenelle Zapski hit a wide open net to put the Dogs in the lead for the first time in the match.
The Huskies would not relinquish the lead and continued to attack the net. Kelly Cerkowniak took a shot that was blocked by the Bison goalkeeper but Ali Goodman was there to knock in the rebound in the 69th minute, extending the Huskies’ lead to 3-1.
The Dog’s would defend their lead until the end of the match and come away with their first win of the 2013 season.
Head coach Tom Lapointe praised the Goodman and Cerkowniak pair after the win.
“They both are dynamic, very quick players,” he said. “They both like to dribble and take people on, and that’s a combination that’s really hard to play one-on-one. They just add a spark.”
The day after defeating the Manitoba Bisons the Huskies, suited up to take on the Winnipeg Wesmen. After a scoreless opening half, the Dogs pulled away in the second to score three goals on the way to a 3-0 win.
Cerkowniak, Zapski and Nicholle Morrison all netted one goal each for the Huskies in the second half. Santaga recorded the shutout for the Huskies by turning away the only two Wesmen shots that came her way.
After finishing fifth in the Canada West division last year and making it to the postseason for the first time in team history the squad is looking to go even further this year. With a solid mix of experienced returning players and eager youngsters, LaPointe sees good things for the team’s season.
“We are confident in the returning players we have and are excited about the additions. All of our new players have the capability to crack our lineup. Competition for playing time is fierce and this bodes well for our season.”
Key returners include fifth-year midfielders and captains Daniela Fuenzalida and Leanne Mylymok. The pair will look to end their Canadian Interuniversity Sport careers on a high note and see the Huskies into the playoffs. Leading scorers Erica Hindmarsh and Zapski return to the field. The pair of strikers combined for 17 points last year.
There will be a battle for net supremacy between Santaga and rookie Kyleigh Vause. Santaga is the more experienced of the pair, having won two Canada West Championships and a CIS title with the Trinity Western University Spartans.
The Huskies added experienced newcomers Jennifer Miller, Jessica Bradford, Rebecca Weckworth and Jessica Morrow, all of whom were members of the U-18 Eastside Vortex. The team won the Canadian National Club championship in 2012.
In the Canada West Women’s Soccer Coaches Poll, the Huskies were voted sixth out of the 13 teams. The 2012 CIS women’s soccer champions, the Trinity Western University Spartans, placed first in the poll.
The Huskies women’s soccer team will play their first home game on Sept. 14 against the University of Regina Cougars.
Photos: Raisa Pezderic