Both University of Saskatchewan soccer teams played hard through two games this past weekend, but in the end the men’s team would come away with a win and a draw whereas the women would lose and draw one.
Sept. 27 saw the men’s Huskies play the first of two on the road games against the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns. The Dogs entered the matches ranked as the fifth best team in the country, but their start sure didn’t show it. In the 23rd minute they allowed Lethbridge defender Connor Brady to open the scoring.
After the Huskies applied a ton of pressure, they finally broke through in the 73rd minute thanks to Garrett Peters’ goal off a pretty pass from David Brown. Then in the 88th, striker Brett Levis placed a perfect shot in top corner to give the Huskies a late 2–1 lead.
The lead however was short-lived as Stephen Primeau buried the equalizer past Huskie keeper Michael Bandula in injury time to even the score at two apiece. That’s how the first game would end with each team picking up a single point in the standings after a 2–2 draw.
The following day, the Huskies started slow once again, allowing Pronghorns forward Scott Slomp to open the scoring in just the 10th minute. The goal came after Bandula had to make a handful of saves in the early going, but just couldn’t keep out the fourth shot of the game he faced. The Huskies had a few late chances, but trailed 1–0 at the intermission.
Again, the Dogs would come out flying to begin the second half and wound up tying the game just two minutes into the new frame. Brown would step up and nail home a penalty kick in the 47th minute to make the score 1–1.
The two teams would battle it out for the rest of a tense second half before Levis was the hero in injury time. Levis notched his Canada West leading sixth goal of the campaign off a beautiful feed from Brown to secure the victory. Unable to amount any offensive pressure late, Lethbridge would be defeated by a final score of 2–1.
The Huskies now find themselves all alone atop the Prairie Division of the Canada West with a 5-0-1 record. They are one point ahead of the University of Alberta, who just happens to be in town on Oct. 3 and 5 to take on the first-place Huskies.
Also playing in Alberta, the women’s team was in Edmonton on Sept. 27 to kick off its doubleheader with the MacEwan University Griffins.
It was an intense back-and-forth affair with both teams having quality chances, but neither was able to solve the keepers. Cara Santaga of the Huskies and Rebecca Reif of the Griffins both recorded the clean sheets. The green and white outshot MacEwan 13–6 but Reif was stellar, and had her biggest save of the game in the 52nd minute when she stopped Erica Hindmarsh on a breakaway.
On Sept. 28 Reif again would slam the door shut and keep the powerful Huskies offence off of the scoreboard. Although the Huskies dominated the Griffins in the first half, they had nothing to show for it as they went in to the break with a 0–0 tie.
It was much of the same in the second half as the Dogs once again controlled much of the play. However, in the 82nd minute MacEwan striker Kassandra Jajczay was the recipient of a perfect cross from Erika Vecchio and she would tap the ball into the open net to give the Griffins a huge 1–0 lead. It was the first and only goal scored on the weekend.
The Huskies outshot the Griffins 15–4 in the match but ended up with the loss, dropping their record to 3–2–3 on the season. The record is good enough for 12 points and fourth place in the tight Prairie Division, but they sit a mere three points back of first place Calgary.
Next up is the 1–5–2 Lethbridge Pronghorns, who will make the trip to Saskatoon for the weekend doubleheader. The Huskies will need two big wins in hopes to stay near the top of the standings in the division.
On Oct. 3, the women’s team will play at 12 p.m. at Field 7 at PotashCorp Park and the men’s team will follow at 2:15 p.m. The teams will have Oct. 4 off before getting back on the field on Oct. 5 with the same game times and location.
Photo: Kyle Muzyka