For the first time in the program’s history, the Huskies men’s soccer team will finish in first place and host a playoff game.
Thanks to a pair of dominating wins this past weekend, the Dogs remained undefeated on the year and clinched top spot in the Prairies Division.
The Huskies came into play needing just two points to secure the first seed for the Prairie Division playoffs and they did not disappoint their home fans. On Oct.11, they hammered the University of Winnipeg Wesmen 8–0 and on the following day took care of business again with a 3–1 victory.
The opening match of the weekend was never close as the Huskies played with a purpose and scored early and often. Luigi Bekwayo buried one in the first minute of the game and Garrett Peters added another one in the 23rd minute. Brett Levis would also tally twice before the half and the Huskies had a comfortable 4–0 lead.
David Brown added a fifth Huskies goal in the 58th minute and then rookie Tyler Redl would record three straight goals for his first career hat-trick and rounded out the scoring for a blowout victory. Winnipeg never had a chance, as the Dogs fired an astounding 33 shots toward the goal, compared to just two for the Wesmen.
After the big win, the Huskies carried their momentum into Sunday and picked up their ninth win of the season with a 3–1 victory. Richard Rundle of the Wesmen picked up the first goal of the game as he beat Michal Bandula in the 11th minute. It would be all Huskies from then on out as Levis, Bekwayo and captain Jordian Farahani all scored to propel the Dogs to another victory.
Levis’ three-goal weekend pushed him to the top of the Canada West scoring and goal race, with nine goals and 25 points on the season. His teammate, Brown, is second in goals with eight and third in points with 21. The dynamic duo has combined for almost half of the Huskies offence and are a big reason for their success thus far. However, Levis isn’t too concerned with his positioning in the conference.
“To be honest, I haven’t really been checking the Canada West statistics,” the fourth year striker said. “I’m extremely happy with how our team is doing and it’s just a bonus that I’m leading at this point.”
With the win, the Dogs run their record to 9–0–1, which is the best in the Canada West and just one point ahead of the University of British Columbia. If the Dogs can beat the Mount Royal University Cougars (1–8–1) this weekend, they will earn the right to host the Canada West Final Four, assuming they make it past the quarter-finals in a couple weeks’ time.
Levis said the team isn’t changing it’s mindset for the final weekend of the year.“We will have the same mindset we always have, we take every weekend as if we would playoffs.”
Bandula has allowed just nine goals all year, which is the second least in the conference. That combined with a sharp defence as well as an explosive offence has made the Huskies one of the best teams in the country this year. As of Oct. 14, the squad was ranked fourth in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport national rankings, the highest ever in school history. It has been a very successful season and Levis knows that better than anyone.
With the first place finish “it means we’ve accomplished a lot so far, but it will mean nothing if we don’t get a result in those playoff games,” Levis said. “For a province it’s a big step for soccer. It’s a high level so it will be nice to see the sort of crowd we will get.”
With first place locked up, the Huskies are starting to look ahead to playoffs, where they will host either the MacEwan University Griffins or the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns. The Griffins take on the lowly Wesmen (2–7–1) while the Pronghorns have to take on the third place University of Calgary Dinos (7–3–0). Whichever team records the most points in the final two games will get the honour of coming to Saskatoon to take on the powerhouse Huskies.
For their final two games of the regular season the Huskies will travel to Calgary and take the last place Cougars. Games are Oct. 18 and 19 and kick off is set for 2:30 p.m.