Instead of shying away from the pressure that comes with guarding the net, Michal Bandula relishes in being the deciding factor on the field.
“I like the fact that you can be that one person who can win the game or lose the game for the team. Everything rests on your shoulders,” he said.
Bandula is adjusting quickly to his new role as starting goalkeeper for the Huskies men’s soccer team. The engineering student took over net duties this year after the departure of former starter Mark Diakiw.
“I was back up for two years so I learned from the previous goalie how to prepare for the game and how to get yourself ready,” he said. “I feel like I’m finally ready to be the number one.”
Bandula started playing soccer when he was around five years old and moved into defending the net as soon as he could. It’s been his home ever since and he has enjoyed success in between the posts this year. In his first two games Bandula has allowed only one goal during his first two starts which has helped the Huskies remain undefeated early in the season.
“This past weekend we won our first two games. I recorded my first [Canadian Interuniversity Sport] shutout so that’s exciting,” Bandula said.
The Huskies are 2-0 on the season so far after posting wins over the Winnipeg Wesmen and the University of Northern British Columbia. Bandula sees the experience possessed by this year’s team as critical to their success.
“Last year we had a lot of first years so that was our big turnover year. This year we have a lot of returning players who already have some experience in CIS.”
The season may have just gotten underway but Bandula and the Huskies are already looking towards the postseason.
“Playoffs is the end goal for the end of the season,” he said. “We have to take every game one by one because you never know which teams can upset you.”
The Huskies are coming off a strong performance in the 2012-2013 season which saw them finish second in the Prairie Division and Bandula thinks the team can challenge for top spot this year.
“I think this year we have a team that can finally get our first ever soccer Canada West title. We’ve been super close the past two out of three years,” he said. “A Canada West title and a trip to nationals would be the best thing for our team.”
As for personal goals, Bandula is focusing on being consistent in net and keeping the goals scored against the Huskies as low as he possibly can.
To get himself ready for the match Bandula has a pre-game ritual.
“Before every game I kick the back of each post with the back of my legs. Posts are the goalies best friends.”
Bandula will try to continue his supremacy in net when the Huskies take on University of Lethbridge Pronghorns on Sept. 15.
Photo: Jordan Dumba/Photo Editor