Halfway through their first seasons in the Canada West Universities Athletic Association, the UNBC soccer teams have a combined record of 0-11-1 and have been outscored 56-4.
The word "ouch" immediately comes to mind.
The statistics aren't flattering and they show just how difficult it is to make the leap from the college ranks to the university level.
As always though, statistics must be kept in perspective. And the best way to get a read on these ones is to compare how the Timberwolves clubs are doing in relation to fellow expansion teams Winnipeg and Mount Royal. In that context, the T-wolves -- as new kids on the Canada West block -- are stationed pretty much where they should be.
Let's start with the UNBC women.
With six games in the books and six left to be played, the Timberwolves have a record of 0-5-1. Their tie came in their Canada West debut when they battled one of the other new entries, the University of Winnipeg Wesmen, to a 0-0 deadlock. Heading into games this weekend, the T-wolves are tied with Winnipeg (0-5-1) and the newbie Mount Royal University Cougars of Calgary (0-4-1) at the bottom of the 13-team league.
For the Timberwolves, the goals for-and-against differentials between themselves and their expansion cousins are a little startling. So far, the T-wolves have been outscored 34-1. Winnipeg, meanwhile, has surrendered 22 goals and netted one. And Mount Royal -- with one fewer game played -- has given up 13 goals and scored two.
But, most of the damage incurred by the UNBC women happened in their second, third and fourth games, when they were beaten 11-0 by Manitoba, 10-0 by Victoria and 7-0 by the University of the Fraser Valley. On the bright side, the scores in their two most recent outings were much more respectable -- a 3-1 loss to the Saskatchewan Huskies and a 3-0 setback at the hands of Regina Cougars, teams that both have winning records.
The Huskies have gone 3-1 so far and the Cougars -- currently in third place -- are 4-0 and haven't fished a single ball out of their own net.
So, the female Timberwolves are making progress, and it should be noted that they have already secured better results than they did all of last season in the B.C. college league when they staggered to a 0-12 record and scored just one goal.
Now, the UNBC men.
The Timberwolves (0-6, eight games remaining) are still seeking their first point. So, too, however, is Mount Royal, which has also gone 0-6 to date. Then there's Winnipeg, which has actually been quite competitive. The Wesmen own a 2-3-1 record and their most impressive feat is that they held otherwise-flawless Saskatchewan to a 2-2 tie in their inaugural Canada West match. Both of the Wesmen's victories were against Mount Royal, 3-1 and 2-0.
Goal differentials for the three expansion clubs look like this -- UNBC, three goals for, 22 against; Mount Royal, one goal for, 25 against; and Winnipeg, seven goals for, 11 against.
The T-wolves have come close to a tie or a victory a few times. In their season-opener, they fell 3-1 to the University of Victoria -- the defending national champion -- and were within a goal of the Vikes for much of the contest. UNBC also lost just 1-0 to Saskatchewan and 2-1 to Trinity Western University when the Spartans scored a go-ahead marker in the dying minutes of the second half.
Despite their growing pains, both UNBC teams deserve credit for their efforts as Canada West newcomers. That's especially true considering the fact that head coaches Alan Alderson (men) and Andy Cameron (women) weren't even hired until May and June respectively, which was terribly late and didn't allow them to recruit the way they would have liked. The coaches have done great jobs with the players they have at their disposal, and the players have competed to the best of their abilities 95 per cent of the time and have been growing stronger as they gain more experience in the league.
Chances are, the work already done and the lessons learned will lead to more reasons for celebration in the second half of the season.