Thompson Rivers University WolfPack men’s soccer team is back into the win column in exhibition play.
Hosting their own tournament at Hillside Stadium, the ‘Pack moved to 2-1 on the season in Canada West preseason activity. They downed the visiting MacEwan University Griffins of Edmonton 2-1 Saturday morning, Aug. 13.
It was MacEwan’s first match of the year under new head coach Adam Loga.
All the scoring was completed in the first half. TRU got on the board in the 29th minute. Mitch Popadynetz (3rd year, forward, Nelson) started the play off deep in the MacEwan end. He took an initial shot from a sharp angle. It bounced off a few players to Ryan Glanville (4th year, forward, Williams Lake).
Glanville spotted an open Yuya Nakano (1st year, midfield, Aichi, Japan) who blasted it past MacEwan keeper Joshua Letendre (2nd year, Alberta Beach, Alta.). Letandre is the Griffin’s back up keeper and was playing his first match since February.
The WolfPack took a 2-0 lead in the 31st minute. Letendre made the initial stop but was out of position and Popadynetz danced in and put it in a yawning cage. It was his third of the preseason.
“We have really been working on when we have the ball and keeping possession,” said TRU head coach John Antulov. “ We didn’t want to give away too much. When we lost possession we did a really good job of keeping our shape, winning the ball back and looking to attack.”
Antulov felt his team looked poised under pressure. “ If you look in the first half, we hit the post twice and their keeper had to make a couple of really good saves. I thought for the most part we put them under pressure which is what we are looking for. We have a lot of new players. The group is starting to jell which is nice. I thought the whole group performed well.”
MacEwan got on the board ten minutes later. Lahai Mansaray (2nd year, Edmonton, AB) did all the work taking it down field with Jonathan Alberkant (2nd year, Edmonton) cashing it in as he beat WolfPack starter Clay Harsany (2nd year, keeper, High River, Alta.).
“I thought we were disciplined,” said Loga about his squad. “We worked a lot on defensive shape this past week. It was our goal going into it. This was kind of a test on what they learned. I thought they did very well on what we wanted to accomplish.”
Loga wasn’t concerned that he was playing a team which had two previous matches under their belt. “It is not about wins or losses right now. It is what is intrinsic and what we can improve upon.”
Lubo Magdolen (1st year, Kamloops) played the second half for TRU who will now meet Douglas College Royals (PACWEST) Sunday afternoon (Aug 14) at 1 p.m.
MacEwan will face UBCO Heat of Kelowna in their next match Sunday at 11 a.m.
The other teams in this tournament are the UNBC Thunderbirds of Prince George and the Quest Kermodes of Squamish (PACWEST).
The WolfPack open their 2016 Canada West regular season at Hillside Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 27 when the UBC Thunderbirds pay a visit. Kick off will be 1 p.m.