The University of Saskatchewan men’s soccer team remains undefeated this season, having won both games of their doubleheader against the University of Alberta Golden Bears this past weekend.
At the beginning of the weekend, the Huskies sat only one point above the Bears in the standings. The Dogs stormed back from last’s weeks disappointing trip to Lethbridge where they went 1-0-1, to destroy their divisional rivals and place themselves squarely atop of the Prairie Division. The Huskies now sit with a 7-0-1 record.
Oct. 3 saw the Huskies play host to the physical Golden Bears at PotashCorp Park. With both teams hunting for a first place spot, the contest was supposed to be a tight one. Fortunately, the Huskies scored early and never let up, controlling the Bears for the remainder of the game.
Garrett Peters opened the scoring in the 16th minute with a well-timed header from teammate Brett Levis’ perfectly placed free kick. The duo continued to complement each other throughout the game as they, along with midfielder Mitch Bauche, were able to combine a series of quick passes to one another and eventually work it to Luigi Bekwayo who scored in the 37th minute.
Bekwayo’s placement of the ball past Alberta’s goalkeeper, Connor James, was perfect into the top of the net for his first goal of the season.
The opening of the second half saw the Golden Bears surge back and cut the Dogs’ lead in half. A shot in the 54th minute bounced off the of Huskies keeper Michal Bandula’s outstretched hands landed at the feet of Alberta’s C.J. Gilroy who easily put the ball into the open net.
The Huskies were not to be deterred as substitute striker Bobbi Nicholat broke away from his marker in the 79th minute to score a third goal for the Dogs.
The final insurance goal came by the way of a penalty kick as the Golden Bears were called for a handball in their own box. Huskies captain Jordian Farahani stepped up to take the kick and was able to strike it past the hands of James. The Huskies finished the day with a scoreline of 4–1.
After a one day break, the two teams met once again at PotashCorp Park. While the first game was competitive between the two teams, the Huskies controlled the game from start to finish; scoring six goals and allowing the Golden Bears to score only one.
The Huskies jumped out to an early lead with three goals coming within the first 17 minutes of the match. Tyler Redl was able to score his first and second goals in CIS competition in the seventh and 17th minute.
Huskies star striker David Brown scored two goals in the match. He opened the scoring in the second minute of the game with an unassisted goal sailing past the goalkeeper James. Brown’s second goal came in the 32nd minute, this time from a penalty kick after Alberta defender Tyler Graham received a yellow for a handball inside the box. Brown’s second goal of the weekend now has him tied for the most goals in the Canada West conference with seven.
The Dogs dominance continued into the second half as Bekwayo, the breakout star of the weekend, was able to score two goals in the 64th and 89th minutes, his second and third in his Canadian Interuniversity Sport career. Bekwayo scored his second goal on a penalty.
Alberta was able to score a lone goal in the 72nd off of a penalty kick after Saskatchewan defender Fabian Dale brought down an Alberta player in the box.
“I honestly didn’t expect this,” Farahani said, referring to their 6–1 win over the Golden Bears. “It’s an unreal feeling so we’ll enjoy it for today and then come back to the training pitch on Tuesday and reset.”
While not competitive in terms of goals, the pair of games was as physically punishing as any match the Huskies have had this season. Over the course of the weekend 11 yellow cards were shown; three to the Huskies and eight to their physically larger rivals.
With two wins over their closest rivals and a goal differential of 10 to two, the Huskies were able to show why they now stand seven points above any other team in the Prairie Division.
“This was a huge weekend. This was the weekend we had chalked down at the beginning of the season as our be all weekend,” Farahani said. “I think mathematically now, we just need two points to lock up that first place which is huge because that means a home game and we’ve never had a home playoff game before.”
The Huskies now remain at home where they will host the University of Winnipeg Wesmen for another weekend double header on Oct. 11 and 12. The Huskies will look for those points to lock down the first position and a home playoff game.
Photo: Katherine Fedoroff/Photo Editor