[highlight ]Huskies 2, Griffins 1[/highlight]
The Huskies men’s soccer team opened the season with a thrilling 2–1 victory over the MacEwan University Griffins on Sept. 11.
It was a warm and sunny afternoon in Saskatoon, with over 800 supporters attending to cheer on the Huskies. The hosts maintained a high level of intensity throughout the match, working hard to apply pressure, maintain possession and force a variety of errors in the visitors’ defence.
All three goals arrived in the second half, as the first 45 minutes saw both teams attempt to find their rhythm and evaluate the opposition. Opening match nerves seemed to set in early for both sides — passes were wayward and touches heavy. MacEwan found it hard to hold onto the ball and continued to make poor challenges.
However, the second half was played with a greater intensity as both teams returned looking to break the deadlock. Saskatchewan began on the offensive, utilizing the pace of Luigi Bekwayo and Bryce Marinus. The hosts continued to create some clear chances and tested the opposition’s defensive capabilities.
Key performances were seen in the home defence as Garrett Peters stepped in with some crucial interceptions, while Carson MacDonald looked to find the attackers with a series of aerial passes. Bekwayo was the man of the match and stole the show with his grit and determination on offence. The Huskies were in control from the second half and looked the more dominant outfit – striking a total of 19 shots and winning 14 corners, compared to MacEwan’s eight shots and one corner.
MacEwan took the lead in the 52nd minute, leaving the Huskies stunned after a dominant start to the second half. An immediate response arrived as the Huskies equalized in the 54th minute. A Jacob Powell corner fell for an unmarked Tyler Redl at close range, allowing him to find the net with the inside of his boot — leveling the game at one.
It didn’t take long for Bekwayo to snatch the lead for Saskatchewan. The midfielder drove into the box in the 58th minute, cut inside and steered the ball into the top right corner — striking the crossbar and passing MacEwan’s keeper. The crowd roared in celebration of such a fantastic finish from a truly talented attacker, 2–1 Huskies.
The remainder of the second half saw a variety of chances for MacEwan to draw level after some lazy defensive displays from Saskatchewan. However, the hosts managed to keep the opposition at bay and thwart their offensive intentions. Despite failing to extend their lead, the Huskies sealed the all-important victory and opened the season with a well-earned win.
[highlight ]Golden Bears 3, Huskies 2[/highlight]
In their second game of the season, the Huskies men’s soccer team was defeated 3–2 by the University of Alberta Golden Bears in an intense fixture.
The boys in green managed to get a foothold in the second half after a lacklustre performance in the first, but a dominant Alberta team continued to press and held onto their lead until the final whistle.
The Huskies failed to perform in the first half as passes went astray, defending was chaotic and off-the-ball movement was non-existent. A poor foul early in the match gave the visitors a penalty kick, but a fantastic save from keeper Greg Buckley denied them the lead.
Alberta controlled the midfield, won the aerial battles, dominated possession and closed down their opposite numbers incredibly quickly. Lapses in concentration gave the Bears a two-goal lead in the first half, scoring in the 33rd and 35th minute.
However, a 43rd minute goal from Tyler Redl brought Saskatchewan back into the match and rejuvenated the team. The first half concluded with Avery Michael striking the crossbar from distance — the game was alive.
The second half was a completely different story as the Huskies maintained possession confidently, forced saves from the Bears keeper and looked to attack their opponent on the wing.
Alberta sat back as Huskie midfielders Jakub Rogowski and Bobbi Nicholat looked for opportunities to draw level. The hosts peppered Alberta’s goal with a total of 10 shots in the second half. Bobbi Nicholat’s 63rd minute equalizer was the result of constant pressure and a home side in control of the match.
The introduction of winger Matthew Gillott midway through the half hugely increased Saskatchewan’s attacking capabilities and the Huskies looked likely to turn in one of his dangerous crosses. However Saskatchewan goalie Greg Buckley left Alberta’s Niko Jankovic with an easy finish after miss-punching a free kick, and the visitors undeservedly stole the lead for good in the 78th minute.
The hosts fought for the draw in the remaining minutes but a defensive Alberta proved difficult to crack. The match ended with a final score of 3–2. Despite the defeat, there were some excellent performances, as the Huskies must look towards their next match and put Sunday’s mistakes behind them.
[highlight ]Huskies 3, Bisons 2[/highlight]
Using a strong second half, the Huskies women’s soccer team was able to overcome an early deficit to pick up their first win of the season, an exciting 3–2 victory over the visiting University of Manitoba Bisons.
It was a slow and nervous start to the game for the Dogs as it took a few minutes for them to get their legs underneath them. The Bisons took advantage of the Huskies’ mistakes early on, as a marker in the 17th minute gave Manitoba an early 1–0 lead. Following the goal, the Huskies seemed to get their heads back in it and began to apply some pressure.
That pressure was rewarded late in the first half as midfielder Kelly Cerkwoniak was taken down in the box, resulting in a penalty. She stepped up and made no mistake burying a shot to the open right side, for her first goal of the season, leveling the game at one apiece at the half.
Carrying momentum over from the end of the first half, a strong surge to begin the second half resulted in another Huskies tally, this one off the boots of Leesa Eggum. In her first game in the green and white, she collected a loose ball and buried it past the Bisons’ keeper to give the Huskies their first lead of the game.
Not long after Eggum’s goal, a botched play by Huskies’ keeper Cara Santaga and a failed clearing attempt allowed the Bisons to tie it up as Bruna Mavignier put it in the wide open net, knotting the game at two. After 40 minutes of solid positioning and possession, it was a small lapse in focus that allowed Manitoba back into the game.
With the second half progressing on and the Huskies adding more pressure, an ugly bounce gave the Huskies the winning goal. In the 68th minute, fifth-year Cerkwoniak let a shot go from just outside the box. It would bounce and hop over the shoulder of Bison keeper Chloe Werle and into the back of the net.
While Manitoba searched for the equalizer, the Huskies played a solid defensive game and the final whistle sounded, giving the Dogs their first win of the campaign. Santaga finished with two saves in net, while Werle had eight saves for Manitoba.
[highlight ]Huskies 3, Wesmen 2[/highlight]
Looking to build off their win from the previous day, the Huskies did exactly that with another exciting match, this time a 3–2 victory over the University of Winnipeg Wesmen.
Captain Meagan Manson was the hero on Sept. 13 as she notched a pair of goals to lead Saskatchewan to their second win of the season and a 2–0 record, while the Wesmen dropped to 1–3 with the loss. Her first goal opened the scoring in the 26th minute, off of a corner from Erica Hindmarsh that sailed to the back post before Manson deposited it in the top corner.
The sides traded chances, but the Huskies controlled most of the play and took a 1–0 lead into the halftime break. Just moments into the second half, the Wesmen tied things up as Danielle Bulloch sent a beautiful curling free kick around the Huskies wall and into the bottom corner, to draw even at 1–1.
The second half saw the Dogs in complete control as they fired 11 shots at the Wesmen keeper and had three corner opportunities. They finally broke through in the 71st minute as Rebecca Weckworth’s fantastic set-up allowed Cerkwoniak to fire one past Wesmen keeper Justina Jarmoszk. Her third of the season gave the Huskies a 2–1 advantage.
Just seven minutes later, Manson potted her second of the match — the eventual game-winner — as she too beat Jarmoszk. Third-year midfielder Jenn Miller made a great pass to set-up the goal and the Huskies are hard to beat once up by two goals.
The Wesmen got one back however, as Bulloch added her second goal on the afternoon in the 82nd minute, giving the Wesmen a little bit of life. The comeback bid fell short as the Huskies shut the door the rest of the way and held on for the 3–2 win.
Jarmoszk was brilliant in the loss, as she stopped 15 shots for the Wesmen. Santaga made two saves as the Huskies started off the year on the right foot and will look to continue their winning ways next week on their Alberta.
[highlight ]Golden Bears 38, Huskies 26[/highlight]
Another second half choke has left the Huskies football team without a win through two weeks in the 2015 season.
After a pair of Tyler Chow touchdowns along the ground, the Huskies seemed to be in complete control of the game and carried an 18–0 lead into the halftime break. After a dominant performance in the first 30 minutes, the wheels fell off for the defence in the second half as the Golden Bears hung 38 points — including 24 in the final frame alone — to stun the Dogs and take the 38–26 win.
The Golden Bears came out flying in the third quarter, as they had put a pair of touchdowns on the board midway through the frame, cutting the deficit to just 10 points after three quarters. Two more major scores early in the fourth were crushing blows to the Huskies, as they never recovered from the Alberta offensive onslaught. A 61-yard rushing touchdown with 24 seconds left was the final nail in the coffin, as the 3,000 spectators were sent home happy.
Alberta running back Ed Ilnicki and quarterback Ben Kopczynski ran wild over the Dogs, as the duo combined for 239 rushing yards and two touchdowns, with a majority of those yards coming in the second half. Kopczynski also threw for 300 yards and three touchdowns.
There were a few bright spots for Saskatchewan as receiver Mitch Hillis was a threat all night, hauling in 12 catches for 122 yards. Chow, the second-year back, looks like he could be a stud as he finished the night 130 yards on 18 carries. Quarterback Drew Burko finished 30–51 for 333 yards and zero touchdowns.
It’s the first time since 2009 that the Golden Bears have beaten the Huskies and also the first time since 2010 that the Golden Bears are 2–0 to start the year. In a tight Canada West conference, the Huskies are going to have their work cut out for them the rest of the year if they hope to return to the post-season for a 14th straight season.
Photo: Emily Sutherland