KAMLOOPS - The Thompson Rivers University WolfPack men’s soccer team sent 1000 of their faithful and alumni home disappointed on Saturday, Sept. 12. The WolfPack dropped their 2015-16 Canada West season opener to the visiting Trinity Western University Spartans 3-1 at Hillside Stadium.
The Spartans led 2-1 after the first half.
“It was not what I expected from us in our first match,” said WolfPack head coach John Antulov. “It looked a bit of the jitters in the first half aside from a couple of good spells. We didn’t carry over from what we did in the preseason to now.”
Trinity Western got on the scoreboard 11 minutes in when Joel Waterman sent the ball forward to Jarvis Ambaka. Ambaka outmuscled WolfPack defender Stefan Shaw (Duncan, BC) and put the ball into the lower right corner of the TRU goal.
The WolfPack evened the score in the 27 th minute. Colton Walker (3rd year, midfield, Sicamous, BC) sent the ball forward to Oriol Torres (5th year, forward, Barcelona, Spain). Torres knocked the ball to the centre of the Spartan goal when Ryan Glanville (3rd year, forward, Williams Lake, BC) was able to get his foot on the ball. It evaded Trinity Western keeper Andrew Hicks.
Torres was named the TRU Bookstore/MacDonalds “Leader of the Pack” Player of the Match.
He and Braeden Burrows (5th year, midfield, Kamloops, BC) were credited with strong matches by the coach. “Both stood out well. We didn’t have enough though. It doesn’t matter what we did in preseason, at this level we know that every game is going to be tough and a battle. We didn’t come out and match up that intensity for 90 minutes that I thought Trinity Western had.”
In the 31 st minute the Ambaka-Waterman combination clicked again .Ambaka went down the left side and crossed it to Waterman who was wide open in the 18 yard box. His strike was a little ‘off speed’ and caught TRU keeper Travis Froehlich (5th year, Revelstoke, BC) off stride and it bounced into the net.
Trinity had a chance to go up 3-1 before the first half was over. They were awarded a penalty kick after a hand ball in the TRU box. Leighton Johnson took it but Froehlich sprawled to his left to make the save.
In the second half, The Spartans added a third goal. In the 74 th minute, Vito Poletto set up Aiden Moore for the marker.
The WolfPack continue their home stand Sunday (Sept 13), when they entertain the University of Fraser Valley Cascades. Kickoff is 2 pm at Hillside Stadium. Trinity Western heads down Highway 97 to face the University of British Columbia Okanagan Heat in their next match on Sunday (Sept 13).
Both matches will be broadcast on http://CanadaWesttv. It is pay per view.
CORNER KICKS: The WolfPack had two of their veterans sitting out this match. Corey Wallis (5th year defender, Enderby, BC) and Finlay McPhie (2nd year, defender, Vernon, BC) were sitting out mandatory one game suspensions. That was the result of red cards they picked up in a match at UBCO at the end of last season. Both will be in the lineup on Sunday.
Antulov wasn’t using their absence as an excuse: “It was a factor but at the same time I like our depth and where we are. We had two guys who were really working hard today and we had some guys who were pedestrians. Guys looked tired and sluggish. The fitness levels are great, I am at a loss as to why we looked like that.”