They have already played the No. 1 team in Canada.
Things won't get much easier for the UNBC Timberwolves men's soccer team this weekend.
The Timberwolves, who fell 3-1 and 8-0 to the top-ranked University of Victoria Vikes last weekend in Victoria, will take on the University of Alberta Golden Bears today in Edmonton and the University of Saskatchewan Huskies Sunday in Saskatoon.
Both squads are undefeated in this young Canada West season, the Bears at 2-0 and the Huskies at 1-0-1. Nationally, U of A occupies the No. 4 spot in the rankings.
The Canada West schedule-maker certainly didn't do the expansion T-wolves any favours as they look to find their feet in the league. But, that's OK with UNBC head coach Alan Alderson, who sees the stiff early-season challenges as opportunities for growth.
"I knew as soon as I started doing some training with the guys that there was going to be a big learning curve and I knew that especially our first four games would be extremely tough," Alderson said.
"We've been teaching and coaching for the last month and so our guys are trying to learn and adapt. They're starting to understand, and our hope is that we learn it quicker so that as the season goes on we can close up the gap between us and some of the monster programs in Canada West."
In those games against the Vikes, the T-wolves were dominated territorially and, particularly in the rematch, had their defence picked apart mercilessly. But, there were bright spots, including the outstanding play of rookie goalkeeper Mitch McFarlane, solid defending by Logan Phenuff and offensive flash shown by striker Danny Dell.
Overall, Alderson was encouraged by what he witnessed and just wants the team to keep building, day-by-day and week-by-week.
"We as a group want to commit to each other that we're going to do our best every weekend and show up to battle," he said. "We want to make this a season that, at the end of it, we're very proud of our progress."
The Golden Bears were a finely-tuned machine on their opening weekend, as they ran to 7-0 and 4-0 wins against another expansion team, the Mount Royal University Cougars of Calgary.
As for the Huskies, they played a doubleheader against the University of Winnipeg Wesmen -- also a new entry in Canada West -- and came away with a 2-2 tie and a 1-0 win.